Hatred and violence against LGBT and transgender people increased more than any other type of hate crime last year

Hate crime directed at gay, lesbian and transgender people grew more than any other types of discrimination last year, figures have revealed.

Hate crime directed at gay, lesbian and transgender people grew more than any other types of discrimination last year

A report published by the Home Office today (Tuesday) showed reports of hate crime in England and Wales rose by eight per cent in the year ending March 2020, but homophobic and transphobic-associated crimes saw spikes of 19 and 16 per cent respectively.

Racist crimes remain the biggest issue, with 72,070 racially-motivated crimes reported to police forces last year equating to 72 per cent of all hate crime. Racial hate crimes also rose by six per cent from the year before with local statistics showing victims as young as two-years-old.

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Hate crimes against those with disabilities also rose by nine per cent, while religious hate crimes fell for the first time since 2012 by five per cent.

Hate crime directed at gay, lesbian and transgender people grew more than any other types of discrimination last year

The figures, which don't include those from Greater Manchester Police, show there were 15,835 hate crimes motivated by a person's sexual orientation and 2,540 based on a person's gender identity.

There were also 8,469 crimes against people with disabilities last year and 6,822 against people based on their perceived faith.

Over half (53 per cent) of all hate crimes recorded were public order offences, such as people using threatening or hateful language or insults against others, while more than a third (38 per cent) involved violence.

Five per cent of hate crimes were classed as criminal damage, such as racist graffiti or vandalism at places of worship.

Graph issued by PA Media showing the rise in hate crime in England and Wales since 2012

There is no regional breakdown for the figures, but Freedom of Information data provides insight into hate crime statistics in Yorkshire.

North Yorkshire Police recorded 139 crimes which were homophobic or transphobic and 65 disability crimes. The same force charged 43 people over hate crimes in the period.

West Yorkshire Police recorded 7,923 racial hate crimes between July last year and April this year, with victims aged between two and 81.

Humberside Police recorded 1,615 hate crimes in the calendar year 2019, of which 65 per cent were based on race, 17 per cent were homophobic, 4.2 per cent transphobic and 8.2 per cent were against those with disabilities.

Hate crime is still dominated by incidents of racism, the data showed

Rose Simkins, CEO of national charity Stop Hate UK which is based in Leeds, said that the rising figures were likely to be a combination of a rise in crimes and a rise in people coming forward to report them.

"What we know from talking to people is that many are still not reporting these crimes," she told The Yorkshire Post.

"These figures are not the full picture. Some people call us and say they don't want to go to the police or think they will be too busy to deal with it. A lot of people are still suffering in silence.

"We want everyone to be reporting hate crimes, even if they believe nothing can or will be done, because if anything it helps us to understand the extent of the problem."

Ms Simkins added that BAME and LGBT communities, and people with disabilities, in particular had a right to know how big the problem was.

She cited the increased debate around trans issues and the recent controversy surrounding author JK Rowling's views on transgender people as contributing factors to the rise in transphobia, but added that racism had always "absolutely dominated" police reports.

"Many people use public debates - such as the discussion around gender identity and the Black Lives Matter movement - to be hostile and say hurtful things," she said.

It comes as this week marked Hate Crime Awareness Week, with campaigning to encourage more victims to come forward.

Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC), said:“We will not tolerate fear and hostility or allow them to be used as reasons to divide our communities and demonise others. Covid-19 has also had a major impact on all our lives but we cannot allow it to divide us as we know our diversity is one of our greatest strengths, something that we will continue to celebrate."

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James Mitchinson (Editor)