There Is No Place For Hate

Posted: Mon, 12 Oct 2020 11:53

There Is No Place For Hate

October 10th to 17th is National Hate Crime Awareness Week.

An important opportunity, each year, to take a stand against those who perpetuate hate and target other human beings because of who they are, who they love, or what they believe.

Hate-based crime, whether expressed verbally or physically, is never, ever acceptable.

A Home Office report on hate crimes (for 2018/19) found they had more than doubled since 2012/13; from 42,255 to 103,379.

The report stated, 'While increases in hate crime over the last five years have been mainly driven by improvements in crime recording by the police, there has been spikes in hate crime following certain events such as the EU Referendum and the terrorist attacks in 2017.'

Of course, these figures are of those crimes/incidents that have been reported to and recorded by the police.

But, as we know, the reality is likely to be far worse than these figures suggest, as many victims of hate crime feel too traumatized to call the police about what's happened to them or feel that doing so will make little to no difference.

But reporting such incidents is vitally important as it gives the police better data and a more complete picture of what the situation really is.

The same Home Office report also found an increase in anti-LGBT hate crime; with the figures showing the biggest increase in transphobic hate crimes with a 37% increase since the previous years figures.

They also found a 25% increase in homophobic and biphobic hate crimes since the previous year.

In response to the figures Laura Russell, Director of Campaigns, Policy and Research at the LGBT charity Stonewall, said:

'As worrying statistics like this demonstrate, lesbian, gay, bi and trans people still face hatred simply because of who they are. While it is possible that the increase is due to higher confidence in reporting, these figures are still likely to only represent the tip of the iceberg when it comes to hate crimes against LGBT people. From our research into hate crime, we know that four in five anti-LGBT hate crimes go unreported, with younger people particularly reluctant to go to the police.

'We have long been concerned about the impact debates on LGBT-inclusive education and trans equality in the media, online and in the streets would have on our community. The significant rise in hate crimes against trans people shows the consequences of a society where transphobia is everywhere. We are still not living in a society where every LGBT person is free to be themselves and live without fear of discrimination and abuse.

'Stonewall would encourage anyone who's experienced a hate crime to report it, and we're working with police services to help LGBT people feel more confident to do so. We also need consistency across sentencing, ensuring that anti-LGBT offences are treated as seriously as other hate crimes. But we all have a part to play in making our society more accepting. Now more than ever, it is time for everyone who cares about equality to stand together as one united community to ensure everyone is free to be themselves.'

At the meeting of the Leicestershire Police and Leicestershire Fire Service LGBT+ Independent Advisory Group taking place during National Hate Crime Awareness Week, I shall be lighting a candle in memory of those people who have lost their lives as a result of a hate crime.

In their memory we must all redouble our efforts to stand against those who hate others.

To say that, as a society and as communities, our diversity is our strength.

And to always remember that Love Trumps Hate.

Mathew Hulbert is the Independent Chair of the Leicestershire Police and Leicestershire Fire Service LGBT+ Independent Advisory Group and an LECG member.

Tags: Equalities