Sharp rise in reported LGBT+ hate crimes since end of lockdown

The number of homophobic and transphobic LGBT+ hate crimes rose sharply after the end of the lockdown restrictions in the UK a new data report shows. In June, the number of hate crimes that could be directly linked with sexual orientation hit the highest monthly levels since the pandemic began.

At least 14,670 sexual orientation hate crime offences were recorded from January to August 2021, compared with 11,841 in the same period of 2020 and 10,817 in 2019.

While offences averaged 1,456 a month from January to April this year, they jumped to 2,211 on average from May to August. There is a similar trend for transphobic offences, which averaged 208 a month from January to April, but 324 for May to August.

The numbers came from freedom of information requests obtained by the PA agency and came from 37 or 46 police forces. The Stonewall charity, which recently began their annual Rainbow Laces campaign in the Premier League, described the rise as worrying and said the figures are a “stark reminder” that LGBT+ people are “still at risk of attack because of who we are”.

The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) strongly encouraged victims to come forward and said officers are highly trained and will “treat everyone with respect and dignity and handle cases sensitively”.

June is Pride Month and the month in which the figures reached their peak, seeing the highest volume of homophobic (2,389) and transphobic (371) offences for any calendar month across all three years.

Leni Morris, chief executive of Galop, the LGBT+ anti-abuse charity, said it launched its hate crime helpline in February 2021 “because we saw a real impact on the community from the pandemic itself” in regards to LGBT+ hate crimes. She said: “What we saw in the pandemic was LGBT+ people experiencing forms of abuse and violence that were either exacerbated by the pandemic itself or caused by it.

“We have some people who were victims of abuse and attacks because of being blamed for the pandemic itself, either because perpetrators thought the pandemic was an act of God – because of the existence of LGBT+ people – or because of the community’s association with the last major pandemic in people’s minds, and that’s the HIV Aids pandemic.”

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Written by

Claire Gordon


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