Homophobic hate crimes reported to police have risen by more than 50% in the past five years. In stark contrast only 8% result in prosecutions, new figures have unveiled.
Homophobic abuse recorded by UK police forces soared from 5,807 in 2014/15 to 13,530 in 2018/19, according to the data.
During the same time period, the number of hate crimes resulting in prosecutions dropped from 1,157 to 1,058 – from 20% of all reports to 8%.
BBC Radio 5 Live programme, Investigations, obtained the figures under the Freedom of Information Act.
Complete responses were received from 38 of the UK’s 46 forces with partial data obtained from Police Scotland not included in the analysis.
The secretary of the national LGBT police network, Lee Broadstock, said individuals now feel more empowered to report hate crimes, but lower-level incidents are less likely to result in prosecutions.
“We have seen an increase in confidence in victims to report it to us and I think that’s where that increase has come from,” he told BBC Breakfast.
“We have improved confidence of people to report but they are reporting some of the lower-level incidents, some of the shouting in the streets, a lot of the online hate is being reported to us.
“Some things are proving a lot more difficult for us to take forward, especially with online hate, such as (on) Twitter…
“It’s very difficult to get that user account from Twitter because it’s based in the US so it’s very difficult for us to prosecute.”
Hate Crime in Ireland
Despite recent positive changes for LGBT+ people in Ireland, many still experience harassment and intimidation simply because of who they are.
Results of a survey conducted by HHRG showed that while only 36% of respondents believed that violence against the LGBT+ community is a severe problem in this country, it reported that in actuality, one in five, or 21% of those surveyed, have been punched, hit or physically attacked in public for being LGBT+.
In December 2018, a report found that only 8% of the trans community have high levels of trust in Gardaí. Just 8% of trans people interviewed rated confidence in the police as ‘very high’. This compares to 43% of the majority population from a similar survey on public attitudes towards Gardaí conducted in 2017.
In July 2019, the CSO reported that 18% of people, 18 or over, have experienced discrimination. In the CSO’s Equality and Discrimination Survey, 32.3% of people said they have an understanding of their rights under Irish equality legislation.
The results highlight the need for hate crime legislation in Ireland. The ‘Burning Issues 2’ survey revealed that a Hate Crime law is now the number one priority for the LGBT+ community in post-marriage equality Ireland.
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