Our latest report into anti-LGBT+ hate crime shows that 3 in 5 LGBT+ people experiencing hate crime want and need help, but only 1 in 5 are able to access any support.
Those without access to support feel “let down”, “alone”, and “ignored”, which often increases the impact of the violence and abuse experienced.
Finding support was difficult because I don’t live in a big city, I live in a small town so had to travel miles to get any help.
Over 9 in 10 respondents were negatively impacted by their experiences. The impacts and consequences reported were wide-ranging and included physical injuries, emotional & psychological impacts, and financial costs.
As one respondent puts it:
I felt helpless because I had not done anything wrong. I was attacked for simply being who I am which is something I can’t change.
Despite almost half of hate crime victims (45%) requiring emotional support, only 15% received any, leading to a sense of isolation and powerlessness. This is an important step in supporting LGBT+ people who have been targeted, so that they can “rebuild confidence and acceptance in myself”, as one respondent says.
Getting advocacy support, such as help with housing issues and criminal proceedings, was even rarer, with only 4% receiving this despite 21% reporting that they needed it.
Advocacy was extremely important to respondents who did receive it, as their case was dealt with much more effectively.
As one respondent put it:
I really struggled as the police just weren’t doing anything about my report and I was struggling to get support. [With advocacy] that all changed… Everything just seemed to slot into place.
Experiences of support services varied hugely. 8 in 10 respondents who accessed LGBT+ specific support were satisfied with the service they received, compared to only 4 in 10 respondents who accessed generic support.
Home Office figures show that reported LGBT+ hate crime has grown at double the rate of other forms of hate crime for the last two years, but even this is only the tip of the iceberg, as most hate crime goes unreported. Only 1 in 8 LGBT+ people surveyed had reported the most recent incident that they had experienced to the police, with over half saying that they thought that the police wouldn’t do anything. Almost a third who didn’t report said they hadn’t because they mistrusted or were fearful of the police.
Back in the early nineties I was being attacked and two officers walked by, I shouted for help but rather than help me they joined in. Ever since then I have never had any faith in the police.
Of those that did report, under half were satisfied by the response that they received.
Leni Morris, Galop’s CEO, says:
LGBT+ hate crime is disproportionately on the rise in the UK, and this report shows that the majority victims are not being given the help and support that they need. We know, from working with LGBT+ victims of hate crime every day, how profound the effects of suffering abuse and violence based on who you are can be.
When someone experiences abuse as a result of their identity, access to advice, information, advocacy, emotional support, and practical assistance are absolutely vital in ensuring their ongoing safety and wellbeing.
However, local support services remain sparse, particularly outside the major cities, and LGBT+ people face a postcode lottery in the help that they receive. This report shows that some LGBT+ victims, where they do reach out for help, feel let down by the response they receive.
We cannot allow LGBT+ victims of hate crimes to feel ignored, or be faced with long journeys in order to find help. We call on commissioners and policy-makers, nationally and locally, to understand the impact of anti-LGBT+ hate crime on its victims, and to provide better access to specialist community-based services for those targeted.