Surge In Hate Crimes Over Sexual Orientation, Home Office Reports
The number of hate crimes related to sexual orientation largely increased last year, according to Home Office figures.
The number of hate crimes reported to police has more than doubled since 2013, with 103,379 offences recorded by police last year – a record number.
The majority of hate crime offences recorded by police forces in England and Wales were racial, with 78,991 crimes recorded, however transgender identity hate crimes and offences linked to sexual orientation both saw a huge increase.
Transgender identity hate crimes are the least commonly recorded hate crime in 42 of 44 forces but last year they increased by 37 per cent, with 2,333 offences recorded.
The figures also show there were 14,491 offences linked to sexual orientation recorded last year, an increase of 25 per cent.
The Home Office said the large increases for transgender and sexual orientation hate crimes were ‘partly due to the smaller number of these crimes’, though more people may also be coming forward to report them.
Hate crime is defined as an offence which the victim or any other person considers to be driven by hostility towards their race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity, the BBC News reports.
It can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault and bullying, as well as damage to property.
Laura Russell, a director at the LGBTQ+ charity Stonewall, commented on the figures, saying:
While it is possible that the increase is due to higher confidence in reporting, these figures are still likely to only represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hate crimes against LGBT people.
She added the rise in hate crime against transgender people ‘shows the consequences of a society where transphobia is everywhere’.
A survey by Citizens UK, an umbrella organisation of faith and community groups, found seven in 10 participants said they never reported hate crimes to the police, the The Guardian reports.
Matthew Bolton, the executive director of Citizens UK, said:
Communities from across the UK are increasingly concerned that we aren’t going fast enough or far enough to strengthen hate crime protections.
Political, media and institutional decision-makers need an action plan to stop the toxic mix of scare stories on social media and a divisive political environment, which is providing a breeding ground for hate.
Of the 103,379 hate crimes recorded last year, 54 per cent were for public order offences, 36 per cent involved violence and five per cent were recorded as criminal damage and arson.
The Home Office believes the increase in hate crime over the past five years is thought to have been driven by improvements in recording by police and a growing awareness of hate crime, though it added that there had been ‘short-term genuine rises in hate crime’ following certain events, such as the 2016 EU referendum.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence contact the LGBT Foundation on 0345 3 30 30 30, 9am until 9pm Monday to Friday, and 10am until 6pm Saturday. Or email [email protected]