Shocking surge in homophobic hate crime reports since Brexit vote

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Stats released today revealed a shocking surge of homophobic hate crime in England and Wales in the wake of the Brexit vote.

The statistics, released by the Home Office today, revealed that all types of hate crime surged in 2016/17.

Across all types of hate crime, reports surged from 62,518 the year before to 80,393.

There was also a large rise for homophobic hate crime, which is the second most commonly recorded type of hate crime behind racism.

Reports of hate crimes relating to sexual orientation surged by a massive 27 percent in just one year, from 7,194 to 9,157.

Shocking surge in homophobic hate crime reports since Brexit vote

The Home Office explained: “In 2016/17, the police recorded 9,157 sexual orientation hate crimes, 5,558 disability hate crimes and 1,248 transgender identity hate crimes.

“The percentage increases in these three strands observed in 2016/17 were similar to those observed in 2015/16 when compared with the previous year.

“The sharp rise in all three strands suggests that the increases are due to the police improving their identification and recording of hate crime offences and more people coming forward to report these crimes rather than a genuine increase.

“Sexual orientation hate crime was the second most commonly recorded hate crime in the vast majority of forces (37 of 44).

“Transgender identity hate crime was the least commonly recorded hate crime in 39 of 44 forces.”

LGBT hate crimes are also disproportionately likely to be violent offences, rather than public order offences.

Shocking surge in homophobic hate crime reports since Brexit vote

Meanwhile data also published today from the CPS showed fewer hate crime cases overall received convictions despite a rise in

The data revealed record numbers of tougher hate crime sentences are being passed by the courts.

In 2016/17, more than half of cases involving hostility on the grounds of race, religion, sexual orientation, disability or transgender identity saw sentences “uplifted”. This means that the courts passed increased sentences in more than 6,300 cases.

This year’s figure of 52.2% compares with just 2.9% in 2007/08 when the CPS began compiling its annual Hate Crime Report, which has been published today (see attachment).

Alison Saunders, the Director of Public Prosecutions, said: “Crimes motivated by hate have a corrosive effect on society and it is pleasing to see the courts are using their powers to increase sentences in the majority of cases for the first time.

“Sentence uplifts are important because they demonstrate that the CPS has built the case effectively, the hate crime element has been recognised and the perpetrator has received a more severe sentence as a result.

“The significant increase in uplifts since 2007 reflects the hard work of the CPS and police to present these cases in court and we aim to increase the proportion even further by 2020.”

Alison Saunders added: “We know hate crime is under-reported and that is why we ran our recent #hatecrimematters campaign aimed at raising awareness of what hate crime is and what people can do about it.

“The drop in referrals recorded last year has impacted on the number of completed prosecutions in 2016/17 and we are working with the police at a local and national level to understand the reasons for the overall fall in referrals in the past two years.”

Campaigners have called for the government to do more.

Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey said: “This disgraceful rise in hate crime demands a much stronger response from Government than we have seen.

“It’s time Conservative Brexit Ministers showed they gave a damn, and they should start with investing not cutting community policing.

“The vile views of characters like Nigel Farage have been given too much oxygen and the Prime Minister’s pandering to the right-wing to secure her position has been disastrous for community relations up and down our country.

“As politicians we have a duty to be responsible with our words as well as our actions and we should lead by example. Hate has no part to play in our society and these figures should act as a wake up call.”

Nik Noone, Chief Executive of Galop, the UK anti-violence and abuse charity said: “Homophobic, biphobic and transphobic abuse are sadly still a reality for many LGBT people.

“The Crown Persecution Service are a key part of challenging the violence and abuse faced by LGBT people who we work with day to day, and they have shown real commitment on this issue.

“This is evident in the significant increase in cases where courts have successfully given an uplifted sentence to acknowledge that it was a hate crime.

“We have also been pleased to work alongside the CPS representing our service users and providing help in developing specialist policies and training.

“However, there is much more work still needed to ensure that all victims of hate crime can access justice and be sure of receiving respectful treatment in court.”

Hardyal Dhindsa of the Association of Police and Crime Commissioners said: “I am deeply concerned by 29% increase in hate crime that has been reported in statistics released by the Home Office today.

“I am particularly concerned by the spikes revealed in incidences of hate crime following national events, such as the EU referendum, as well as terrorist attacks.

“We must not allow acts of terror, such as those that took place in Westminster, London Bridge and Manchester, to induce further acts of hate.

“However, the publication reveals that one likely cause for the increase in all five strands of centrally monitored hate crime is improvements in recording by the police.

“I am encouraged to know that forces are making progress on this, as it helps us to understand the scale of this type of crime. Indeed, PCCs and forces are currently driving forward innovative ways to address the problem of hate crime across England and Wales.”