LGBT hate crime on the rise

By Mark Cook, Care and Support Regional Manager

Although crime rates on the whole may be dropping, a new report suggests LGBT people are still experiencing high levels of abuse in the UK.

Shocking statistics revealed in research by Stonewall, based on YouGov polling of more than 5,000 people, has kicked off the group’s campaign to encourage people to report hate crime and show support.

The research shows that:

  • hate crime against gay, bisexual and trans people in Britain has risen by 78% in the last four years
  • the proportion of gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans people who have experienced a hate crime rose from 9% in 2013 up to 16% in 2017
  • currently, four fifths of hate crimes against LGBT people are not reported to the police
  • in total, 21% of LGBT people have experienced a hate crime or incident due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months
  • trans people were especially at risk of such incidents, with 41% experiencing a hate crime or hate incident because of their gender identity in the last 12 months.

High profile hate crimes such as the homophobic hate-fuelled massacre at a popular LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Florida, where 49 people were tragically killed in the in the early hours of Sunday 12 June 2016 still happen.

Such crimes in the 90’s were not treated as hate crimes when I was followed and assaulted after leaving a Leeds night club in 1994.

I was thrown against a car and called ‘faggot and bum boy’. I managed to get away and hid underneath a car until my fear had subsided and I was sure my route to safety was clear.

I spent the night at the railway station, wondering what I had done to get myself in to a situation were I feared for my life. I reported it to the police at the railway station and was told to simply ‘get myself home’. I want to the hospital the following day and found out I had a couple of broken ribs.

That for me was not an isolated incident.

I was once again assaulted as I left a village pub in 2004. I had spent the evening in the pub with a couple of friends and left alone after talking with the barman. There had been some comments from the back bar during the evening from a group of men playing pool.

As I left I was beaten to ground, kicked, punched and stamped on, I think by more than one person. I must have lost consciousness as I remember coming round and realising I had been sick. I also lost my glasses and was disorientated.

I was admitted to the hospital for a couple of nights and interviewed by the police about how I got my injuries. I had a broken arm, broken ribs and had many stitches to my face and inside my mouth. I was off work for six weeks. I could only give them information as to where the assault took place. I did have a visit from Victim Support but there was no conviction and no follow up – guess I was just a statistic.

Until LGBT people can walk down a street, holding hands without fear of assault or abuse I will support LBGT campaigns to change attitudes.

Hate crime is on the increase. I really hope that this is because LGBT communities are reporting more incidents not because hate crime is more common.