Nearly two thirds of LGBTI people in Scotland say they have suffered a hate crime – but the vast majority did not report it to the police.
That’s the initial findings of a survey conducted by Scotland’s Equality Network, coinciding with a report from the Scottish Government’s Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion.
According to the Equality Network, interim results show that 63% of LGBTI people have been the target of a hate crime, the majority of which happened in the last year. 29% of LGBTI people have been physically attacked because they are LGBTI.
One man responding to the survey wrote: “I have received online abuse for being gay, have been harassed and teased at work and had physical threats and eggs thrown at me on the train because of my sexual orientation”.
Equality Network’s Policy Coordinator Hannah Pearson said: “We welcome the report’s recognition that hate crime can only be fully tackled by addressing prejudice and improving community cohesion more widely, including through school education.
“All schools should be inclusive and welcoming of diversity, including LGBTI people. As the report says, we need to develop teachers’ capacity around this, involve young people, and ensure the school inspections framework encourages this.”
Earlier this year the Equality Network provided LGBTI hate crime training to over 90 police officers.
Tim Hopkins, Director of the Equality Network said: “Following the training we provided to police across Scotland, we hope that a national network of LGBTI Liaison Police Officers will be established, and that training can be rolled out for other police.
“This will help give people greater confidence to report hate crime.”
According to the survey, 22% of LGBTI people have experienced verbal abuse on public transport because they are LGBTI; 22% have been subject to online abuse; and 17% have been abused at work.
Hannah Pearson said: “Attitudes towards the LGBTI community in Scotland have greatly improved over the years, but hate crime is still a serious concern for many LGBTI people. We welcome the twenty-two recommendations from the Independent Advisory Group, and look forward to continuing to work with both the Scottish Government and Police Scotland to ensure they are implemented fully.”
By Nick Duffy