Figures obtained recently using freedom of information requests show there were 666 incidents of homophobic or transphobic abuse recorded by police across Scotland in 2009/10; almost double the 364 incidents reported in 2007/8, and almost five times the 114 incidents reported in 2004/5.
Stonewall Scotland campaigned for the law change to ensure offences aggravated by prejudice against LGBT people were recognised as being on a par with those aggravated by racism or religious intolerance. When this legislation came into effect in March 2010, it meant that all Scottish police forces were required to report on these crimes for the first time.
Incidents reported have occurred in people’s own homes, in restaurants, on public transport and while on nights out. Stonewall urges people who have experienced homophobic or transphobic crimes or abuse to always report such incidents to the police. This can be done directly or by using a remote reporting service. Reporting even what might seem like a minor incident will help to give a clearer picture of the scale of the problem in Scotland. Also, reporting hate crime helps to send the message that it will not be tolerated. The Crown Office has assured that they will be releasing the first full year’s statistics in March 2011.
Carl Watt, Director of Stonewall Scotland, said: “The findings from our 2010 community safety survey painted a stark picture of the sorts of crimes taking place across Scotland, with 61% of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people who were physically attacked choosing not to report it to the police. Since then both Stonewall Scotland and Scottish Police Forces have been encouraging LGBT people to report such incidents. This building of confidence, and the work that has gone into creating and increasing awareness of remote reporting facilities, will likely see a considerable number of crimes aggravated by homophobia and transphobia being recorded in the first year of the legislation coming into play.”
“Over a quarter of the people attacked told us that they accept abuse and attacks as part of being LGBT in Scotland so it might be some time before we see the true extent of these crimes across Scotland. Having said that, we have a strong message from our police forces that crimes committed against people simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity will not be tolerated and will be taken seriously.”
Stonewall Scotland works to achieve equality and justice for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Our 2010 Community Safety Survey showed that: