Shockingly high number of anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes not reported to police, study finds

Two people sitting side by side, one in a rainbow flag and one in a trans flag

The majority of LGBTQ+ hate crime victims fail to report to police because they feel it’s “too minor” and they don’t trust the service, a new study has found. 

In a bid to highlight the alarming rise in hate crime and incidents against the queer community, a study for an app cracking down on LGBTQ+ hate crime has uncovered some harrowing truths. 

According to the report commissioned by the Vodafone Foundation, 68 per cent of people in the queer community say they have been subjected to a hate crime because of their sexual orientation or gender identity in the past year. 

A further 27 per cent said they had suffered physical injury from a hate-fuelled attack, while 65 per cent reported being verbally abused or ridiculed. 

But a staggering 75 per cent of these victims said they had never reported a hate crime to the police. 

Just over half (53 per cent) of people surveyed said they felt the incident was too minor to be reported, while 42 per cent said they didn’t trust the police to take their report seriously, or do anything about it. 

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The online survey polled results from 1,0008 adults aged 18 and over in the LGBTQ+ community. 

It coincides with the launch of Zoteria, an app created by the Vodafone Foundation, which offers help and advice to those affected by hate crime. It also enables people to report hate crime incidents. 

The launch of the app follows a global competition at the company asking employees to create a tech solution for a social issue close to their hearts. 

Marta Lima led the winning team and chose to tackle LGBTQ+ hate crime. 

Lima, a computer engineer, said: “As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I’m very aware of how frequent hate crime incidents are. 

“It’s happened to me, and every person I know from the community has a story. Often people don’t know their rights, don’t think they will be taken seriously, nor that reporting an incident matters. 

“But data is key to driving change. We wanted to create an app that encourages the community and its allies to step up, come together and be empowered, by making it easy to flag incidents both as a victim or as a bystander.”

CEO of LGBTQ+ anti-abuse charity Galop, Leni Morris, said the app will “link LGBTQ+ people who need support directly to our services, run by LGBTQ+ people”.

She said, alongside other resources available, it contributes towards a future where “all LGBTQ+ people in the UK have access to specialist support in the wake of abuse and violence”.

Nancy Kelly, chief executive of Stonewall, which partnered with Vodafone and Galop on the app, said it takes “all of us playing our part in reporting hate and making sure victims get the support they need”. 

She added: “We are calling on LGBTQ+ people and allies to download the app, support our communities and help us advocate for change.”

It follows a sharp increase in queer hate crimes nationwide, with recent Home Office figures detailing at least 155,841 recorded hate crimes from March 2021 to March 2022.

According to the report hate crimes rose by about 26 per cent from the previous year. This is the most significant increase in reported hate crimes since 2016/17, when stats showed a 29 per cent increase compared to 2015/16. 

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