New research finds LGBTI people in Scotland face repeated hate crime

Scottish LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex) equality charity the Equality Network has today published the Scottish LGBTI hate crime report 2017.

Based on a detailed survey of 1,445 people in Scotland, the report is Scotland’s most comprehensive study of hate crime against LGBTI people.

It is published in advance of Hate Crime Awareness Week which starts on October 14.

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The report reveals shocking statistics. Two thirds of LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) people, and four fifths of trans people, have experienced hate crime targeted at them. In nine out of ten cases they experienced more than one hate crime. 18% of LGB people and 30% of trans people have experienced more than ten hate crimes.

The most frequent types of hate crime experienced were verbal abuse and threats, followed by physical attack, online abuse and sexual assault. The most common location for hate crime is in the street, followed by public venues such as pubs and cafes.

Hannah Pearson, Policy Coordinator of the Equality Network, said: “Hate crime is a serious concern for many LGBTI people. We were shocked to find how many people have experienced repeated hate crime. These crimes are unacceptable in 21st century Scotland. Although the report makes for difficult reading, we hope that people will find it informative and useful, and together, we can work in tackling all forms of hate crime”.

The research found that most hate crime is not reported to police. 71% of LGBTI people who experienced hate crimes did not report any of them to the police, and only 5% reported all of them. Reasons given were thinking that the crime was “not serious enough”, believing nothing would be done, hearing of others’ poor experiences after reporting, and fear of the consequences.

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On the positive side, when people do report hate crime, more of them are satisfied with the help they get from the police than was the case a few years ago. 41% were satisfied with the police response and 39% dissatisfied. However, where the crime they experienced was prosecuted, only one quarter were satisfied with their interaction with the Procurator Fiscal and with the court, and half were dissatisfied.

Respondents’ comments about reporting to the police varied, and included:

“They dealt with the incident very well, and let my partner and I know every step of the way what was going to happen”. Heterosexual trans man, 16-24, suburban area.

“Slow response, unsympathetic officers, invasive and aggressive treatment of me as a victim and no charges ever brought”. Gay man, 25-34, suburban area.

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The report makes a range of recommendations to ensure better responses to hate crime, to encourage reporting of hate crimes to police, and to prevent hate crime.

Hannah Pearson added: “We welcome that we had the opportunity to train a national network of LGBTI Police Liaison Officers last year, but we know that further training in LGBTI issues is needed for all police, as well as Procurator Fiscal Service staff. Leadership against prejudice from the Scottish Government and local government, including education in schools, remains vital in preventing hate crime”.

The Scottish LGBTI hate crime report 2017 can be found here:

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