Four men arrested after ‘hate-related sexual assault’ in Birmingham’s Gay Village

Four men have reportedly been arrested for a violent sexual assault, which is being described as “hate related”, in Birmingham’s Gay Village.

The victim, who is in her 20s, was reportedly subjected to verbal and physical assault, and threatened with a knife, during the incident on Hurst Street in Birmingham at around 5.30am on Sunday (8 January), Birmingham World reported.

The four suspects, who remain in custody for questioning, are aged between 18 and 22.

A police spokesperson said: “We’ve got four men in custody on suspicion of a hate-related sexual assault on Hurst Street thanks to our eagle-eyed CCTV operators.

“Our CCTV operators spotted the suspicious activity and when the crime was reported almost an hour later, they were able to back-track on the CCTV and direct officers to the suspects.” 

Officers claimed the suspects were found by volunteers for StreetWatch, an initiative that aims to combat LGBTQ+ hate crimes in Birmingham’s Gay Village using citizen patrols

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The Birmingham Against LGBTQI+ Hate group has said that despite the help of StreetWatch, “more needs to be done” to prevent this type of assault.

Alarming police figures from 2022 have shown that anti-LGBTQ+ violence in the UK is rising at a record-breaking rate, with reports of homophobic hate crimes more than doubling in five years. 

Hate crime reports shot from 10,003 in 2016-17 to 26,824 in 2021-22, with transphobia and misinformation surrounding mpox cited as some potential causes for the rise. 

“In recent years, we’ve seen a disproportionate rise in official hate crime figures in the UK, but we know we’re still not seeing the full picture,” Leni Morris, the CEO of LGBTQ+ anti-abuse charity Galop, told PinkNews.

“This year, in particular, we’ve seen a significant rise in hate crime experienced by the LGBT+ community. The narrative around mpox and continuing transphobia in the media contribute to a hostile environment for LGBT+ people.

“These things also make our community more visible in the eyes of the public – and when we are more visible, this often leads to a rise in attacks.”

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