The number of hate crimes recorded in England and Wales reached a new high this year, official statistics show.
Content warning: This story includes topics that could make some readers uncomfortable.
There were a total of 155,841 hate crimes recorded by police in the year ending March 2022, an increase of 26% from the previous 12 months.
It marks the largest annual rise since 2017.
Offences targeting transgender people rose by 56% from 2020/21, showing the largest proportional increase for any group with a total of 4,355 anti-trans incidents on record.
“Transgender issues have been heavily discussed on social media over the last year, which may have led to an increase in related hate crimes,” the Home Office report said.
Racist hate crimes also reached new highs, with more than 100,000 recorded in England and Wales for the first time – an increase of 19% from the previous year.
Disability offences saw a rise of 43%, while hate crimes targeted at sexual orientation and religion were up 41% and 37%, respectively.
The Home Office noted the lack of clarity over whether or not the figures increased because of improvements made to the recording processes or because of genuine rises in hate crime.
“It also thought that growing awareness of hate crime is likely to have led to improved identification of such offences,” it added. “It is difficult to assess whether the increase in the last year is a continuation of this trend, or whether the rise in hate crime is, in at least part, genuine.”
Additionally, some form of an increase was to be expected as crime was at lower levels in 2020/21 due to the public health restrictions in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than half (51%) of hate crimes were public order offences, roughly 22% were stalking and harassment, 13% were violence against someone without injury, with 6% being violence with injury.
Galop's statement on the release of the 2021-2022 Official Statistics for Hate Crime pic.twitter.com/wWYDCpTago
— Galop (@GalopUK) October 6, 2022
“Today’s official hate crime figures reflect the experience of our community in 2022,” said a statement from LGBTQ+ anti-abuse charity Galop.
“Some will try to say this increase is just showing that the LGBT+ community’s trust in the police is improving – that this is not an increase in incidents, but in people coming forward.
“We strongly do not believe that to be the case. Demand for our hate crime support services, including the national LGBT+ hate crime helpline, has grown by 19% in just the last six months.”
Galop is an LGBTQ+ charity there for those who have experienced abuse or have been the victim of a hate crime. It can be contacted Monday to Friday from 10am-4pm on 0207 7042040 or at HateCrime@galop.org.uk. More information is available here.