Homophobic hate crime on the rise across Cambridgeshire as charity warn it is “tip of the iceberg”

85 incidents of homophobic hate crime reported to Cambridgeshire Police in 2016-17

85 incidents of homophobic hate crime reported to Cambridgeshire Police in 2016-17 - Credit: Archant

There were 85 incidents of homophobic hate crime reported to Cambridgeshire Police in 2016-17, however a charity has warned this is “the tip of an iceberg”.

The latest Home Office figures show the number of hate crimes recorded by the police during the 2016-17 financial year.

In Cambridgeshire there were 85 incidents where gay, lesbian or bisexual people were abused or attacked due to their identity, rising from 43 in 2015-16.

However the charity Stonewall, which campaigns on LGBT+ issues, believes this is just a fraction of the true number of homosexual people who have experienced hate crime.

A Stonewall spokeswoman said: “These worrying statistics are a wake-up call.

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“It’s 2018 – lesbian, gay, bi and trans people should feel safe and no one should face hatred simply because of who they are.

“Sadly, the reality is very different. And while some people may suggest this spike is due to increased confidence in reporting, we fear these figures represent just the tip of the iceberg of a rise in hate crimes against LGBT people.”

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The Home Office figures show that over the same period there were 11 incidents of transgender hate crime reported to Cambridgeshire Police.

Stonewall’s spokeswoman commented that according to its research “four in five anti-LGBT hate crimes go unreported, with younger people particularly reluctant to go to the police”.

The research, by YouGov, also shows that trans people are more than twice as likely as to experience hate crime than other members of the LGBT+ community, meaning these figures could be vastly under representative.

The spokeswoman added: “These statistics are the real life consequence of a society where transphobia is everywhere – from the front pages of newspapers, to the gates of the school yard.

“Stonewall works with police services across Britain to ensure all LGBT people feel more confident and comfortable reporting abuse.

“It’s vital we improve confidence in the way the criminal justice system deals with LGBT hate crime.”

The Home Office said in its report that it believes LGBT+ hate crime rises are due to improved reporting, and do not necessarily show genuine increases.

Overall police recorded hate crime increased by 77 per cent in 2016-17, with the vast majority of the incidents classified as racism.

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