In a year where the UK had no physical prides, due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, hate crime against LGBT+ has soared new statistics from the Home Office have shown. Homophobic crime was singled out as have the biggest growth in reported incidents.
Crime against people motivated by their sexuality or percieved sexual orientation, has increased by 19 per cent according to the Home Office, more than any other demographic recorded by the hate crime statistics. This means that there were nearly 16,000 reported incidents, up from 13,314 in the previous year. Homophobic crimes recorded have more than doubled since 2015, however some of this down to better recording of crimes by the police.
Hate crimes against transgender people rose by 16 per cent, to 2,500 reported incidents from 2,183 the previous year.
Overall police in England and Wales recorded a rise of eight per cent for all hate crimes, the majority of which still remains on the basis of race (76,070 offences). Hate crime on the basis of religion was the only hate crime to have fallen to 7,203 incidents.
Nearly a quarter (23%) of reported hate crime against gay people included stalking and harassment, whilst this rose to 32% for transgender people.
The rise in homophobic crime reflects statistics released from Scotland earlier in the year which showed that homophobic crime had also skyrocketed in the nation. In July we reported that, in the period between 2019 and 2020, there were 1486 total homophobic hate crime charges brought. In 2018 to 2019 there were 1194 – an increase of 292 charges for the current year, which is equal to a 24 per cent rise. Last year the rise was five per cent. Meaning that crimes against gay, lesbian and bi people has ballooned in Scotland.
What is a hate crime?
According to the Government website, “Hate crime is defined as ‘any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards someone based on a personal characteristic.’ There are five centrally monitored strands of hate crime: race or ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion or beliefs, transgender identity and disability.
Has the UK become toxic towards LGBT+ people?
Equal rights campaigner John Leech, who is no stranger to the LGBT+ community, warned that the country is in desperate need of change and laid the blame firmly at the Prime Minister’s door for creating a toxic political and social atmosphere.
John Leech, who led the decade-long campaign to pardon Alan Turing who was criminally convicted for homosexuality, said:
“These figures show a horrifying backwards trend and point to a systemic targeting of the LGBTQ+ community.
“It is embarrassing that in 2020 in this country, the gay community has increasingly become the intentional victims of hate crime.
“But is it really that surprising when Boris Johnson’s Government doesn’t just tolerate, but actively promotes a toxic political and social atmosphere?
“The extreme and divisive language from our own Prime Minister is destroying the soul of this country.
“Politics needs to change; education needs to change—this country needs to change. We must be an open-minded and inclusive society that doesn’t just tolerate the differences in people, but actively celebrates them.
“We must teach our children to grow up to embrace everyone around them regardless of their background, and that must start with politicians taking a lead.
“Liberal Democrats have a long and proud history of standing up for the LGBTQ+ community, and the fight for equality can never end. We will always fight for a far kinder, more understanding and welcoming United Kingdom.”