Vodafone Foundation has launched a new app, Zoteria, to help the LGBTQ+ community report hate crimes and access support from charities.
Users can confidentially register such incidents on behalf of themselves or someone else, with one of Zoteria’s key goals being to improve the reporting of trends relating to anti-LGBTQ+ attacks.
The app was developed in partnership with LGBTQ+ charities Stonewall and Galop, the latter of which will reach out to victims and provide a safe space to talk.
“Galop has been supporting LGBTQ+ victims of hate crime for decades, and we know that the official figures only represent a small proportion of what our community experiences on a daily basis in the UK,” said Leni Morris, CEO of Galop.
“Zoteria will link LGBTQ+ people who need support directly to our services, run by LGBTQ+ people.
“This app, alongside our other work, including the National LGBT+ Hate Crime Helpline, helps get us a bit closer to a future where all LGBTQ+ people in the UK have access to specialist support in the wake of abuse and violence.”
Anonymised data from towns and cities will be available to local authorities to ensure they can better understand the number and types of hate crimes taking place in their areas.
This information will also highlight the specific issues faced by ethnic minorities, which have been proven to face barriers in accessing support after experiencing racism and/or homophobia.
Nancy Kelley, Chief Executive at Stonewall, said: “Hate crime against LGBTQ+ people is rising sharply in many countries around the world.
“For years, Stonewall has worked on tackling hate crime by building systems to gather evidence to advocate for change and to support survivors in over 15 countries.
“Zoteria is a leading example of how corporates can use their technology and networks to advance LGBTQ+ rights, and we are immensely proud to partner with Vodafone and Galop on this innovative app that will take us one step closer to a world where all LGBTQ+ people are safe and free to be ourselves.”
Welcome to Zoteria, a new LGBTQ+ hate crime reporting app 📱
If you see or experience LGBTQ+ hate crime, #FlagIt with Zoteria!
Together we can make our communities safer for all 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️
— Stonewall (@stonewalluk) December 13, 2022
The app’s launch comes not long after the UK government announced that the number of hate crimes recorded in England and Wales reached a new high this year.
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.
Galop's statement on the release of the 2021-2022 Official Statistics for Hate Crime pic.twitter.com/wWYDCpTago
— Galop (@GalopUK) October 6, 2022
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.
Zoteria is free to download in the UK via app stores now and you can learn more about it below or by clicking here.