There’s been an increase in the number of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people reporting hate crimes across England and Wales in recent months, according to the National LGBT Hate Crime Partnership.
In the last three months, Galop, an LGBT anti-violence organisation, says the number of people getting in touch has doubled with more than 100 service users contacting them in this period. Other LGBT groups across the country have also reported large increases in those reporting experiences of hate crimes.
The news comes as the Partnership launches the second phase of its campaign during the national Hate Crime Awareness Week (10-17 October). The campaign, funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, aims to raise awareness of the LGBT hate crime and encourage people to ‘Talk, Report and Get Support’.
The increase has been welcomed by charity leaders as a sign that people are increasingly willing to come forward.
The Partnership is a network of 34 organisations across the country that work to empower LGBT people to stand up against hate crime through education and training as well as establishing local partnerships. It is also carrying out over 400 anti-hate crime training sessions, forming 230 inter-agency cooperative relationships to tackle hate crime and creating over 30 information resources.
Nik Noone, Chief Executive of Galop, a specialist LGBT anti-violence charity put the increase into context saying:
“We’ve seen the number of people getting in touch with our hate crime advocacy service more than double in recent months. Though one person facing hate crime is one too many, we see this rise in people getting in touch as a cause for optimism and are proud of our part in helping empower people to speak up about their experiences and access assistance.”
Paul Roberts, Chief Executive of the LGBT Consortium, confirms the trend:
“From what our members are telling us, it seems that this picture is being mirrored across other parts of the UK. The message is getting out that LGBT people don’t have to put up with being targeted. We know, however, that service provision is patchy across the UK and so not everyone can access the help they need, particularly in rural communities.”
“It’s important that these crimes are reported so that the police have a clear picture and can tackle the issue. There are a number of ways in which people can do that anonymously, if they don’t feel able to approach the police directly, for whatever reason.”
Evelyn Asante–Mensah, Equality and Human Rights Commissioner, said:
“We know that there are thousands of unreported hate crimes committed against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity every year. Whilst it is encouraging to hear more people are coming forward for help, all LGBT people experiencing hate crime should feel empowered to report it.”