New hate crime statistics released today by the ONS reveal that England and Wales continues to become a less safe place for lesbian, gay, bi and trans people.
- The increase in hate crimes against trans people by 11% in a year, and by 186% in the last five years, comes against a backdrop of UK Government drawing back its support for trans people and the growth of divisive and demonising rhetoric about trans people in society.
- Hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation are still up by 112% in the last five years, despite this year's slight decrease of 6%.
- Hate crimes based on sexual orientation and transgender identity are the most likely to involve violence or threats of violence.
- Statistics only provide a snapshot of the reality, with the vast majority of victims not reporting their experiences to the police. The Government's own statistics suggest fewer than one in ten LGBTQ+ people report hate crimes or incidents.
These figures follow a recent British Social Attitudes survey which revealed Britain that is becoming more prejudiced as a nation towards trans people. The Home Office statistics also highlight that political and media narratives around trans people might have led to an increase in hate crime incidents.
These findings come as a manufactured culture war spreads divisive rhetoric and misinformation in our politics and media, often dismissing and legitimising the real violence experienced by many in the LGBTQ+ community.
Today, Stonewall, Europe’s largest LGBTQ+ charity, criticises the UK Government for its inaction on tackling this rising epidemic of hate; including running without a central strategy or plan since the last one expired in 2020.
It also points to the fact that some senior figures within the UK Government have helped to spread divisive rhetoric and misinformation for political capital, in the process dismissing or even legitimising the real violence and fear felt by many in the LGBTQ+ community.
Robbie de Santos, Director of External Affairs at Stonewall, said: “As a survivor of a violent attack myself, I know the awful reality behind these rising numbers. What concerns me even more is that political leaders haven't acted seriously or quickly enough. Instead many of them are filling the public domain with toxic language that dehumanises LGBTQ+ people and legitimises violence. The UK Government failed to implement any sort of strategy that responds to their own statistics and reports. We need a strong and committed leadership that moves away from divisive distractions and instead addresses the real problems of people in this country. We shouldn't be treated like second-class citizens.”
Stonewall urges the UK Government to make our communities safer by developing a clear plan to tackle hate crimes. Police and courts need proper training and resources to handle hate crimes effectively, and they must work closely with communities to improve reporting and support for victims. It's essential to put into action the recommendations from the Law Commission’s Hate Crime Laws Report without delay, ensuring fairness for all victims.
The LGBTQ+ charity also calls on all politicians to pull back from divisive 'culture wars' that harm the safety and dignity of us all. Britain could once take pride in being a tolerant, respectful and inclusive country, but a lack of positive action and threats to existing rights are taking the UK off course. Running the clock on a Bill to ban conversion therapy is just one example of a failure to protect and support LGBTQ+ people. Modern Britain needs leaders who will simply do the right thing and steer the country back on track.
The story behind numbers
The sad reality of LGBTQ+ people in the UK today is that they have more reasons to be worried and scared to simply go on about their daily lives.
Kieran Aldred, Head of Policy at Stonewall (he/him) said: “The official statistics are just the tip of the iceberg - the vast majority of LGBTQ+ people who experience hatred and violence in the UK do not report this. The Government's own National LGBT Survey showed fewer than one in ten LGBTQ+ people report hate crimes or incidents. Shockingly this includes only 37% of those who experience physical harassment or violence.”
"This low reporting shows continuing lack of belief in the forces that are supposed to protect us, with The Casey Report demonstrating that trust in the police among LGBTQ+ people had fallen faster than for any other group."
Dan Harry, TV Personality & LGBTQ Activist (he/him) said: "In the face of rising hate crimes, I want to stand up for my community who are under attack every day. What happened to me on the tube platform at King's Cross, where I was followed and surrounded by men who called me slurs and threatened to push me in front of a train, was not an isolated incident. For so many people in my community, it is so much worse.
This reflects a disturbing reality that our LGBTQ+ community faces daily. Many political leaders are fuelling the flames of homophobia in this country, and warping the facts to create a false narrative that puts a target on the backs of the most vulnerable.
That's why I'm partnering with Stonewall to demand change. We can't face this battle alone, rather we must tackle it together as a community. I want everyone enduring hate crimes to know you're not alone."