Though laws may be on the books to protect the gay community from hate crimes and homophobic harassment, most such acts go unprosecuted. The blame for this situation can be shared among a number of parties: a flawed justice system, police officers that take these crimes less seriously, and victims who rarely report the incidents so that the perpetrators can be held responsible.
To learn the extent of the problem, Stonewall, a British LGBTQ rights group, conducted “The Gay British Crime Survey.” Respondents were able to illuminate just how rampant homophobic hate crimes are, figures that are usually obscured due to a lack of reporting.
Here are 10 of the most alarming statistics in the newly released study:
- 17% of LGBTQ citizens have been victimized by perpetrators of hate crimes within the past three years.
- 75% of these hate crime victims do not report the incidents to law enforcement.
- 85% of these LGBTQ victims are subject to harassment and intimidation.
- 20% are threatened with bodily harm or rape.
- 10% of LGBTQ hate crime victims are attacked or physically assaulted.
- 13% are groped or otherwise sexually assaulted.
- 40% of victims fail to report because they don’t realize their mistreatment constitutes a crime.
- 30% of victims fail to report because they are skeptical that the police will actually pursue the matter.
- 50% of the offenders are strangers below the age of 25.
- 30% of the offenders are previously acquainted with their victims.
The good news is that Stonewall is also committed to improving the situation for the British LGBTQ community. They developed a list of tips to reduce the number of homophobia-fueled hate crimes throughout the United Kingdom:
- Encourage victims to come forward and report the crime. Seeing more perpetrators held responsible for their hateful discretions may dissuade others from partaking in the future.
- Publish and study hate crime data. By disseminating this information rather than concealing it, the community will become more aware of the problem at large.
- Train law enforcement officials to better understand the extent of the problem and handle reports of hate crimes. Not only will some added sensitivity make the LGBTQ community more amenable to reporting illegal incidents, but provide proof that these cases are worth seeking justice for throughout the ranks.
- Team with schools and other local community centers to educate people. This course of action could be particularly effective with populations prone to homophobia, such as youths and hyper masculinized athletic settings.