Around 35,000 LGBT hate crimes go unreported every year

Published: 22 June 2015 Tags: Report, Hate, Crime, Dr Stevie Jade Harvey By John Walding

Fear of how they will be treated is leading to thousands of lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people (LGBT) not reporting hate crimes. As a result perpetrators are evading justice, a new report published today reveals.

Evidence nationally suggests around 35,000 cases of hate crime committed against people because of their sexual orientation go unreported every year.

The report from the University of Leicester's Centre for Hate Studies reveals that 88% of LGBT people had experienced some form of hate incident leaving them with emotional and physical scars.

Additional national evidence in the report shows that while victims of transphobia can be targeted up to 50 times in one year, only three in ten reports the incident.

The publication of the report coincides with a major new campaign to raise awareness of LGBT hate crime by a partnership of 31 organisations, including charity LGBT Foundation, and funded by the Human Rights Commission.

With the message of ‘Recognise it. Report it.’ the campaign will empower LGBT people to stand up against hate crime through education and training as well as establishing local partnerships.

Led by the LGBT Consortium, this is the first time that groups from across England and Wales have come together to tackle hate crime, with a focus on rural communities where reporting is especially low.

Paul Roberts, Chief Executive of the LGBT Consortium, said: “LGBT communities are already working with the police to remove barriers to reporting, and offer practical and emotional support. However, too often, LGBT people don’t know they are experiencing hate crime or just shrug it off.

“Collectively, we are saying it is time to move on from this. Our message today is recognise hate crime when it happens, report it, and get support when you need it.”

The report lists a variety of reasons for under-reporting including the ‘normalisation’ of hate incidents, concern about wasting police time, fears about being outed and previous negative experiences with the police.

Equality and Human Rights Commissioner Evelyn Asante-Mensah, called for committed action: “Pride season is upon us and it seems an opportune moment to reflect on the great steps made towards equality, while highlighting the hidden scandal of underreporting of LGB and T hate crime.

“Just as the Commission is doing with disability hate crime, we need to bring this problem into the open and create a culture where victims are confident to come forward and society confronts all forms of abuse.”

The report makes a series of recommendations to tackle the issues surrounding reporting of hate crimes. These include; increased community outreach by police to build trust with LGBT communities; an increase in third party reporting systems where needed; increasing awareness of how and where to report hate crime and looking at what can be learned from the reporting of other types of hate crime.

Report author, Dr Stevie-Jade Hardy, a lecturer at the University of Leicester’s Centre for Hate Studies, said: “Hate crimes are a routine, and mostly unreported feature of many LGBT people’s daily lives. Simply expecting victims to report without taking meaningful action to dismantle perceived and actual barriers is futile, particularly when the evidence shows that many have little confidence in the capacity of authorities to act empathetically or effectively.”

LGBT Foundation has been a third-party Hate Crime Reporting Centre for over 15 years and can help to support people with reporting hate crime. They can report in a number of ways - by calling the Helpline on 0345 3 30 30 30, they can pop into the building on Richmond Street, email helpline@lgbt.foundation or they can use LGBT Foundation’s easy access Hate Crime Reporting web-app and report anonymously if they wish at https://lgbt.foundation/report

The Commission is also funding the UK’s only 24/7 nationwide LGBT hate crime helpline, run by Stop Hate UK – 0808 801 0661.

Other regional helplines can be found at www.lgbthatecrime.org.uk

University of Leicester's Centre for Hate Studies Report ‘LGB&T Hate Crime Reporting: Identifying Barriers and Solutions’ can be downloaded by clicking the image here.