2 out of 3 LGBTI Scots have experienced a hate crime directed at them, but the majority did not report it to the Police, according to a major study by the Equality Network.
The new report on hate crime experienced by LGBTI people in Scotland, says trans people are most likely to experience a hate crime and that, overall, 71% of people who experienced a hate incident did not report it.
39% of respondents said they were dissatisfied with the Police response when they did report an incident.
Nearly one third of those who had experienced a hate crime, had experienced abuse on more than 10 occasions.
The most frequent types of hate crime experienced were verbal abuse and threats with most incidents happening in the street, followed by public venues such as pubs and cafes.
That’s the shocking analysis from the Equality Network’s LGBTI Hate Crime Report 2017.
“Hate crime is a serious concern for many LGBTI people. We were shocked to find how many people have experienced repeated hate crime. These crimes are unacceptable in 21st century Scotland. Although the report makes for difficult reading, we hope that people will find it informative and useful, and together, we can work in tackling all forms of hate crime”.
Almost 1500 people from across Scotland took part in an online survey between September and October 2016, with views across a range of ages, ethnicity and in both rural and urban areas of the country.
The survey results show that 95% of those who experienced hate crime said it came in the form of verbal abuse, 79% experienced direct threats, 50% a physical attack, 36% experienced online abuse and 21% a sexual assault.
Nearly half had experienced hate crime within the past year, with one in five people experiencing abuse within the past 30 days.
A Scottish Government spokesperson said:
“Scotland is now recognised as one of the most progressive countries in Europe on LGBTI rights, however we know there is much more to do to tackle all forms of prejudice and promote a multi-cultural society based on mutual trust, respect and understanding.”
“We are taking forward an ambitious programme of work which includes the launch of a national campaign tomorrow (Friday 13 October) to encourage and empower people to recognise hate crime and report it.”
“LGBTI hate crime is totally unacceptable and all forms of prejudice will not be tolerated in Scotland. We encourage anyone who experiences or witnesses any form of hate crime to report it immediately to the police or a third party reporting centre.”
The report identified that 80% of trans people had experienced hate crime at some point in their lives, with LGB people identifying a similar trend (65% lesbian, 66% gay, 53% bi).
Scotland publishes its official hate crime figures annually via the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS), which identified 1075 charges reported to them for the year ending March 2017. This is the highest number since the new laws were introduced in 2010, although it does not include every incident reported to Police, since many perpetrators are never identified or there is a lack of evidence required to charge.
The Equality Network have made a number of recommendations in the report, including that Police Scotland and COPFS continue to train staff in LGBTI awareness and that the Scottish Government work to improve the understanding of what a hate crime is.
They have also called for detailed statistics by each Police division to be available to better help understand local issues, and for schools to take urgent action to address prejudice-based abuse in order to remove this damaging behaviour early.
This report comes just a month after Stonewall released similar findings in their YouGov poll of 1260 people in Scotland. They found over a third of LGBT people avoid certain bars and restaurants and don’t feel comfortable holding their partners hand in public.
If you ever need to report a hate crime, call Police Scotland on 101 or in an emergency, dial 999.