Gypsies/Travellers

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Definition

Gypsies/Travellers are a heterogeneous and diverse community.  It is important to note that there is a difference in use of terminology; however, the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government use similar definitions.

Gypsies/Travellers is the official term used by the Scottish Parliament and refers to a number of smaller ethnic groups and communities, including Scottish Travellers, Irish Travellers, Welsh Travellers and Roma. Although some customs and beliefs are shared between these groups, all are different. Occupational and ‘new age’ travellers are different from Gypsies/Travellers and are not considered to be part of a distinct ethnic group.

The Scottish Government additionally states on its Equality pages that different titles for Gypsies/Travellers cover all communities who regard ´travelling´ lifestyle as an important aspect of their ethnic/cultural identity.

Demographics

The response category ‘White: Gypsy/Traveller’ was included for the first time in the ethnic group question of the Scottish 2011 Census. The Census results give information on the Gypsy/Traveller population in Scotland

The Scottish Government has brought together evidence on Gypsies/Travellers in Scotland from a range of existing sources. All statistics and research presented are already in the public domain but the aim is to make it easier for users and policy makers to access the evidence base and understand it.  This information is presented in the paper Gypsies/Travellers in Scotland: Summary of the Evidence Base. The paper also considers emerging sources and identifies the data gaps that these will fill.

Policy

In 2011 the Scottish Parliament Equal Opportunities Committee launched two inquiries into the lives of Gypsies/Travellers.

A report on Gypsy/Travellers and Care (2012) was published following evidence sessions on Gypsy/Travellers with caring responsibilities.

A report on Where Gypsy/Travellers Live (2013) was published as a result of evidence from consulting on living arrangements for Gypsies/Travellers, including site provision and community support and access to services.

The Christie Commission Report, the NHS Healthcare Quality Strategy, and Equally Well are all relevant to this population group. For further information, visit our policy page.

Legislation

Gypsies/Travellers are protected by the Equality Act 2010 as one specific racial group. The Equality Act 2010 came into force in October 2010 and provides a legal framework to protect the rights of individuals and advance equality of opportunity for all.

Updated April 2015

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