Sam and Tam’s story

18 February, 2022

Sam Ross was a victim of a hate crime three years ago while waiting for her train at Glasgow Queen Street Station.

The 33-year-old said: “I was just coming home from work as a caterer at Glasgow City College, listening to my music when this older guy came up to me and spat in my face.”

The man didn’t say a word and walked away after the incident.

Sam added: “I wiped away the mess, which had gone into my eye, and went to get help from my friend Janet, who worked at the station.”

Janet then phoned the police, who took the incident seriously.

Three years on from the incident, Sam and her father Tam highlighted how they didn’t know that what she had experienced was a hate crime.

Tam said: “I have never led a sheltered life, but even I didn’t know that doing that was a hate crime. I always viewed a crime as something serious, like assault or burglary.

“But when I heard about what had happened to Sam I was furious. I can’t believe someone would do that to someone else, never mind someone who is vulnerable or maybe looks different.”

While the crime hasn’t changed the way Sam lives her life, it has made her want to make people aware of the impact hate crime can have on vulnerable people.

Tam says: “Sam has always been independent and has worked in the city for 13 years – she continues to meet up with friends and works five days a week.

“I am glad it hasn’t affected her life too much, but we have definitely become more aware of these sorts of things.”

Sam adds: “Anyone who experiences something similar should report it to the police right away.”

At the time of the incident, Queen Street Station was under renovation, and there was no CCTV of the incident. With no witnesses, the perpetrator was never caught.

Many people who are victims of crime, do not report the crime to the police. This can be due to a number of reasons, such as not realising the magnitude of the crime or having a mistrust of the police or justice system.

Victim Support Scotland aim with the Mind My Voice campaign is to encourage people to come forward to receive support following a crime, regardless of if it has been reported to the police.

The voices and experiences of people who have been impacted by crime often remain unheard. If we want Scotland to have a truly progressive justice system that is fit-for-purpose to deal with the complex needs of victims, witnesses and families, we need policy and decision makers to hear these experiences and make changes based on this as evidence.