ONE in four Scots have admitted to making offensive remarks about lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people in the last year, according to a leading charity.

And nearly three in five have admitted that they did not intervene when they heard derogatory comments and slurs about people from the LBGT community.

The figures have been released from equality charity, Stonewall Scotland, and are based on a survey conducted by YouGov of more than 2000 adults across the UK.

In the past year, 24 per cent of people in Scotland admitted making offensive remarks about LGBT people and 52 per cent have heard this kind of abuse.

However only 40 per cent of people said they stepped in to challenge this abuse and only four per cent said they offered support or assistance to the person targeted.

Stonewall Scotland has released a three-step guide on how to intervene and challenge bullying and abuse to coincide with Anti-Bullying Week, which begins today.

The three steps advise people to "be brave" by not leaving or ignoring the situation when abuse occurs, and to "be heard" and confront the bully if it's safe to do so.

The third step is then to "be kind", to approach the person targeted to check if they are ok, or suggest they find support or report what has happened to the relevant authorities.

The charity is also asking people to sign its No Bystander pledge for speaking out about hurtful language and bullying, which has more than 16,500 signatures already.

It said that it was important for those witnessing this kind of abuse as often people who experience it find it difficult to come forward and speak out about it.

Colin Macfarlane, Director of Stonewall Scotland, said: "We’ve come a long way in terms of LGBT equality in Scotland but these statistics show that we cannot be complacent.

"There is still much work to be done before every lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans person can be free to be themselves.

"To change this, we need people to stand up to bullying and abuse, we need people to be brave, be heard and be kind.

"At Stonewall Scotland our mission is to empower people to step up and not be a bystander.

"Simply offering support is one step people can take to ensure the person targeted is not left feeling isolated.

"Only by working together can we create a society where everyone is accepted without exception."

Scottish Green MSP Patrick Harvie, who has actively campaigned for LGBT rights, said: "This research underlines what most LGBT people know all too well, that prejudiced and discriminatory language are still part of daily life in Scotland.

"The progress we've seen toward equality in recent decades has been hard fought for, but that progress can't be allowed to stall.

"Efforts to tackle prejudice and hostility toward LGBT people must be taken forward by every part of government, especially within the education system."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We are committed to promoting a more equal society which truly values our diverse communities and are proud to be recognised as one of the most progressive countries in Europe for LGBTI equality.

"We welcome Stonewall’s three-step guide, and its No Bystander initiative in taking steps forward to make change.

"Despite the significant progress, particularly in recent years, we are aware of the issues still facing LGBT people and communities today.

"There is no place for any prejudice or discrimination in modern day Scotland or anywhere else."