Scotland’s minister for victims and community safety has said people “could be investigated” for misgendering someone online under a new hate crime law which came into effect on Monday.

MSPs passed the Hate Crime and Public Order (Scotland) Act in 2021, consolidating existing hate crime legislation and creating a new offence of stirring up hatred against protected characteristics, although sex has been omitted in favour of a standalone Bill designed to tackle misogyny.

Asked whether misgendering someone on the internet was a crime under the new law, Scotland’s minister for victims and community safety Siobhian Brown told BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme: “It would be a police matter for them to assess what happens.

“It could be reported and it could be investigated – whether or not the police would think it was criminal is up to Police Scotland.”

The Ayr MSP added: “There is a very high threshold which is in the Act which would be up to Police Scotland, and what would have to be said online or in person would be threatening and abusive.”

Asked why women had not been included in the new legislation, Ms Brown said: “We’ll be going further for the protection of women through our misogyny Bill, which will be laid down in Parliament.”

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