Homophobic Hate Crime and Safety  

In this section:

 

What is hate crime?

Hate crime is any incident committed against a person or property which is motivated by the offenders’s hatred of people who are seen as being different. This difference could be a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or race, ethnic origin, religion, disability or gender.

Why should I report homophobic hate crime?

Homophobic hate crime hurts. It can be confusing and frightening and may happen again. By reporting it, you may be able to prevent these crimes from happening again to you or someone else.

Don't be afraid to report any homophobic abuse you receive to the Police - what you tell them will be dealt with sensitively and professionally. All four Police forces across Wales in Dyfed Powys, Gwent, North Wales and South Wales treat hate crime seriously and their officers are trained to treat all people with respect and dignity.

But if you don't feel able to speak directly to the Police then you can fill out a Self-Reporting Form, or contact a support agency such as Victim Support  who will help you, even if you do not report to the Police.

How can I report homophobic hate crime?

You can report to the Police all homophobic incidents eg: verbal abuse, spitting, offensive graffiti as well as criminal offences in two ways:

  • Contact the Police directly – by phoning your local Police force or by phoning 999 if the crime is in progress or there is an emergency.
  • Complete a Self-reporting Incident Form – these Forms can be found in public places and can be completed either anonymously or with contact details.

Reporting directly to the Police

The Police will:

  • Make a record of the incident
  • Record your witness statement
  • Investigate to see if there is sufficient evidence
  • Interview any suspects
  • Inform you of decisions by Police and by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) to charge a person or not
  • Keep you updated on how the case is progressing.

Police forces make referrals of victims of crime to Victim Support and so you will be contacted by Victim Support staff to offer support. In Wales Victim Support have developed a partnership project with Stonewall Cymru project to encourage more victims and witnesses of homophobic and transphobic hate crime, whether they are ‘gay or straight’, to access Victim Support¹s enhanced support service.

Contacting your Police force:

Dyfed Powys Police 

www.dyfed-powys.police.uk/en/advice-and-support/reporting-crime

Dyfed Powys Police have specially trained Hate Crime Support Officers spread throughout the force to help victims of all hate crime. They work with police officers to ensure early detection and provide additional support to the victim including identifying measures to reduce the likelihood of becoming a repeat victim. The training of the Hate Crime Officers included talking to members of minority communities about their experiences of hate crime.

Gwent Police

www.gwent.police.uk/info_point/hatecrimereporting.htm

Gwent Police have specially trained lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender liaison officers for victims of hate crime. The LGB&T Liaison Officers provide victims with additional support throughout the investigative process. It is hoped this additional resource available to victims will encourage those who have experienced a hate crime to have more confidence in reporting it.

North Wales Police 

temp.north-wales.police.uk/about_us/equality__diversity/hate_crime.aspx

North Wales Police have Diversity officers to help and support victims of all hate crime and work with police officers to ensure early detection and community reassurance. The training of the Diversity Officers included talking to members of minority communities about their experiences of hate crime.

South Wales Police 

www.south-wales.police.uk/en/content/cms/help-and-advice/victims/hate-crime/ 

The South Wales Police Minorities Support Unit works together with frontline staff and Hate Crime Officers to give assistance and support to members of minority communities, particularly to victims of hate crime and critical incidents. A core priority of the Minorities Support Unit is to provide the best possible service with a view to achieving high levels of victim satisfaction when tackling hate crime & hate incidents.

Self-Reporting Incident Form

The Self Reporting Incident Form allows you as the victim, witness, parent, carer or any concerned person to report an incident to the Police without speaking directly to a Police officer. You have the option of giving as little or as much personal information as you wish.

If you complete the form anonymously the Police will use the information to identify patterns in an area. If you give your details the Police will contact you to investigate the incident and this could lead to the prosecution of the offender.

Self-Reporting Incident Forms are available from Safer Wales and a number of local authorities. Click below for Forms:

How do I get support without contacting the Police?

Victim Support

In Wales Victim Support developed a partnership project with Stonewall Cymru project to encourage more victims and witnesses of homophobic and transphobic hate crime, whether they are ‘gay or straight’, to access Victim Support¹s enhanced support service.
Stonewall Cymru’s work with Victim Support in 2010 on the It’s No Joke project link to  has ensured that Victim Support staff and volunteers understand some of the issues and support needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who experience hate crime. Click 'Here for It’s No Joke leaflet.

Victim Support is a national charity of trained volunteers who provide free, non-judgemental and confidential support to a victim and their family whether or not the crime has been supported to the Police. They can provide emotional support, practical help with changing locks etc, witness/victim support in court and assist in claiming Criminal Injuries Compensation. To find your local Victim Support click here

Other support agencies

For information on LGB Helplines and local LGB groups click here 

How can I increase my personal safety?

The Police can give you Crime Prevention Advice for protecting people and property like changing locks etc and discuss ways of collecting evidence eg: installing a CCTV camera, focused Police patrols etc. They can also put you in touch with Victim Support and neighbourhoodwatch groups.

For more details on personal safety click here 

How can I help my case?

Click here for information on helping your case.

Stonewall Cymru with the support of the 4 Welsh Criminal Justice Boards have produced a Guide for victims of homophobic hate crime with information on how Criminal Justice agencies respond to homophobic hate crime and the steps that can be taken to stop it.

Click here to download the Guide Have you experienced homophobic hate crime? 

How will I be looked after in court?

The Criminal Justice System have recognised that many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people are fearful of giving out their identity details in court and so there are now powers to restrict media reporting and to allow witnesses not to give their home address unless it is necessary for evidence.

For more information on this and witness care click here for Witness Care

Is there a specific charge or court sentence for a homophobic offence?

There are no specific criminal charges for homophobic offences.


Click here to download CPS Policy for Prosecuting Cases of Homophobic and Transphobic Hate Crime.


Click here to download CPS Guidance on Prosecuting Cases of Homophobic and Transphobic Crime.


Criminal law in respect of public order offences is intended to penalise the use of violence and/or intimidation by individuals or groups, these cover unlawful violence, disorderly behaviour and threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour. It also covers offences of stirring up hatred against persons on racial and/or religious grounds but this does not cover behaviour on homophobic grounds.


However, the homophobic element of an offence is taken into account at the point of sentencing. The law ensures that where an assault involving, or was motivated by, hostility or prejudice based on sexual orientation (actual or perceived) the judge is required to take this into account when sentencing the criminal by:


• Recognising the homophobia as an aggravating factor, and stating in an open court any extra elements of the sentence that they are giving for the homophobic aggravation.


For more details on increases to sentences for homophobic offences click here

It should be noted that not every incident reported to the police will amount to a crime; not every incident that is a crime will lead to the perpetrator being found and charged and not every case that is brought to the attention of the Crown Prosecution Service will have sufficient evidence of the homophobic element in it for the purposes of section 146 of the CJA 2003. This could be because it may not be in a form, or of sufficient substance, to allow the court to take it into account when sentencing the defendant.

What are the statistics of reporting homophobic hate offences and successful prosecutions?

Hate Crime statistics across England, Wales and Northern Ireland

The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) published the first statistics of all hate crimes reported and recorded across England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The figures show that in 2009 alone more than 50,000 hate crimes were reported to the police. This showed a rise across all types of hate crime - where the victim, or any other person, perceived a criminal offence to be motivated by hostility on grounds either of race, religious belief, sexual orientation, disability or because a person is transgender. Click here for ACPO data.


The Crown Prosecution Service also published their prosecution statistics of all hate crimes which showed that more than 52,000 hate crime defendants were prosecuted over the four years up to March 2010, a rise on 2009's figures of 49,000 and an 82% conviction rate. Click here for CPS Hate Crime Report 2010

Homophobic Hate Crime in Wales

In Wales, from 2006 Stonewall Cymru has been collecting data on Homophobic Hate Crime from the four Welsh Police forces and the Crown Prosecution Service. The total number of reports of homophobic hate offences each calendar year has averaged 459,  and there has been an increase of 13%. Of those total reports an average of 13% were taken up by the Crown Prosecution Service as homophobic defendant prosecutions. Successful prosecutions showed a total of 75% increase between 2006 and 2011 with a 100% increase between 2006 and 2008.


Click here for correlation of homophic statistics and successful cases 2012-2006 calendar years.

Click here for statistics of homophobic hate crime reporting to Welsh Police in 2012-2006 calendar years.

Click here for statistics of homophobic defendant by CPS in Wales in  2012-2006 calendar years.


The Incitement to Hatred Act

In March 2010 important new legal protections come into force to outlaw threatening behaviour or materials intended to stir up hatred against people on grounds of their sexual orientation.
Stonewall has campaigned for a number of years for a specific law to extend existing criminal offences against incitement of racial and religious hatred to protect lesbian, gay and bisexual people too. We warmly welcome these much-needed measures.
For information on the Incitement to Hatred Act click here 

Making a complaint

A lot of partnership work is taking place between Stonewall Cymru, members of the LGBT community and the four Welsh Police forces to increase their understanding of the issues facing LGBT people and to ensure that people are treated with respect and dignity.

However, sometimes things can go wrong, so if you feel let down by one of the criminal justice agencies and want to complain click here for more information.

Resources for tackling homophobic hate crime

Stonewall Cymru in partnership with other organisations have developed a number of useful resources for tackling homophobic hate crime. Click here for more information.

Research

Stonewall found that as many as three in four people who are victims of homophobic hate crime do not report the incident. Click here for more information and to download publications



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If you cannot find the information you need on this website, you can call the Stonewall Cymru offices on 029 20 237744 or 01492 622202 or the Stonewall info line on 08000 50 20 20 (Mon-Fri 9:30am - 5:30pm) and we will try to point you in the right direction.