One in five LGBTQ+ people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity in the last 12 months in the UK, with this jumping to two in five people when it comes to trans victims.
And when you think that four in five anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes and incidents go unreported, those figures actually dangerously underestimate the risk queer individuals face on the streets of Britain.
In recent months especially, LGBTQ+ people have been victims of a spate of homophobic and transphobic attacks. From Madrid to Liverpool, GAY TIMES has been reporting on various physical and verbal attacks that have been targeted at the LGBTQ+ community.
Though facing the reality of this situation is distressing, it is necessary to understand what to do if you find yourself a victim of, or witnessing, an LGBTQ+ hate crime/incident.
What is an LGBTQ+ hate crime?
When a homophobic or transphobic hate incident becomes a criminal offence, it’s known as a hate crime.
There are no specific homophobic or transphobic hate crimes listed in law, but any criminal offence can be a hate crime if the offender targeted you because of their prejudice or hostility against LGBTQ+ people.
LGBTQ+ hate crimes/incidents can take many forms including:
- Verbal and physical abuse
- Physical violence
- Threatening behaviour
- Online abuse
- Damage to property
What should I do if I’m the victim of an LGBTQ+ hate crime?
If you are the victim of an LGBTQ+ hate incident OR crime, you can report the events to the police.
It really is important you report the incident as the police can only do something about it if they know it happened.
So, if you feel you’re in immediate danger, call 999. If it’s not urgent you can call the police on 101 any time of day or night.
Make sure you tell them you think the incident was a hate crime and why you think this. Did the perpetrators say or do something to make you think it was? Were you targeted somewhere in particular?
Providing authorities with as much detail as possible is really important.
What should I do if I see an LGBTQ+ hate crime taking place?
First of all, if you witness a hate crime in progress it’s important you don’t place yourself or those around you in any danger.
If you do witness a hate crime in progress and you believe it is an emergency, call 999 and contact the police immediately.
If you witness a hate crime or hate incident that is not a dangerous incident, speak to the person afterwards and make sure they’re okay.
Make as many notes about details and times in the moment as possible then you can either help the person report the incident or, with their permission, report it on their behalf.
What support is out there for victims or witnesses?
There are a number of grassroots organisations and charities that offer potential respite if you need support after the attack.