On 23 July 2017, the Government Equalities Office and Department for Education launched National LGBT survey to “understand the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) people living in the UK.” It is a great step by the government towards building a factual database, that will hopefully help to produce an informed action plan for implementing national equality strategy for this community.
Organisations such as Stonewall, Queer Futures or Galop have produced numerous resources from health and wellbeing to LGBT hate crime. Members of the LGBT community face still face discrimination in many aspects of life, with more than a half of LGB pupils experiencing bullying and a quarter of patient-facing staff hearing their colleagues make negative remarks about LGB people or using discriminatory language. Young LGBT people are also more likely to have suicidal thoughts than heterosexual people. This data suggests that stigma is still very much ingrained in our society.
Experience of LGBT Hate Crime
Stigmatisation and discrimination are root causes of hate crime. Last year, Galop produced The Hate Crime Report (2016), which details experiences of hate crime in LGBT community. They found that 4 in 5 LGBT people had experienced hate crime, of which a quarter would classify as violent, and only 25% of the respondents reported the last hate crime they have experienced. The most perpetrated type of hate crime against LGBT people is verbal abuse, with Trans people and gay men being the most affected.
4 in 5 LGBT people had experienced hate crime
A quarter had experienced violent hate crime
A third experienced online hate crime
A tenth experienced sexual violence as part of a hate crime
It is a well known fact that hate crime is largely under-reported, and the LGBT community is not an exception. Among the reasons provided the most common were feeling that it would not produce a result, being unsure if it was a crime, feeling it would not be treated seriously, fear it would make the situation worse, and fear of a negative reaction from police to their identity.
Reporting satisfaction of LGBT hate crime is also quite low, with 40% of people finding the process difficult. It is largely due to staff lacking knowledge about LGBT issues, finding it hard to describe the incidents many times. It was also mentioned that there are too many stages in the process, and being concerned about disclosing their sexual orientation and identity.
It is very important to acknowledge that the UK records almost five times more anti- LGBT hate crimes than the next biggest recorder, the USA, despite being a much smaller population. This indicates that UK policies on collecting hate crime data are so far very successful in comparison to other countries. At the same time, findings from Galop’s research suggest areas for improvement. We must increase public’s and service providers’ awareness about LGBT+ community and issues they face, educate about hate crime and ways of reporting, increase and diversify reporting infrastructure, introduce preventing programs.
It is important that all public facing organisations and service providers consider the needs to LGBT communities. At Communities Inc, we held a dialogue looking specifically at the barriers older LGBT people face in being part of a cohesive community. See our 6th dialogue debrief for more information