Homophobic hate crimes on the rise in the UK

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The number of homophobic hate crimes in the UK recorded by police has risen over the past year.

According to figures released to the Press Association, Scotland Yard recorded a total of 1073 violent homophobic crimes were recorded between January and October this year – up from 1007 last year.

In some areas the number of crimes recorded has surged drastically – with South Wales police recording 162 violent crimes, up from 89 two years ago, and Greater Manchester recording 278 – up from 231 last year.

A number of other forces reported rises, including Dorset, Kent, Cambridgeshire, Merseyside, Suffolk, South Yorkshire, Devon and Cornwall, North Wales, Bedfordshire, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Durham, Leicestershire, and Derbyshire.

Some have theorised that improved procedures for reporting crime and a drive for people to come forward have contributed to the figures, as opposed to a marked rise in anti-gay violence.

Richard Lane of Stonewall said: “We know that homophobic hate crimes are a real issue in the UK. One in six LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) people have experienced a homophobic hate crime or incident in the last three years.

“We have seen a number of stories in the press in recent months concerning some particularly violent homophobic attacks in the UK.

“These instances we’ve read about are most definitely concerning, as are any cases of homophobic attacks or bullying whether at home or abroad.”

Nick Antjoule of hate crime charity Galop said: “It’s encouraging that more people feel able to talk to the police, though the vast majority of hate crime remains hidden.

“Each year the police record over 4,000 homophobic crimes, but that’s dwarfed by the 39,000 homophobic crimes that happen every year in this country according to government estimates.

“Many of the people Galop support feel silenced by abuse on the street, harassment online or prejudice at home. Some of our clients put up with harassment for years before contacting us for help.”

Just last week, three men were jailed in Brighton over a vicious homophobic assault.