Hate Crimes: What You Need To Know

Now ladies, as members of the LGBTQIA+ community, or allies, we need to be aware of the legal protections that we have when it comes to circumstances of violence, hate and bigotry. GALOP, a group of laywers who set it as their mission to change society and create a community of people that know that they can get help if they are victim to intolerance, have curated ‘The Hate Crime Report 2016’, which looks into Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia in the UK. Their statistics show us that ‘4 in 5 LGBT+ people have experienced hate crime’, however only 25% of LGBT+ people reported the last hate crime that they experienced. After Brexit, homophobic hate crime attacks rose by 147% in the UK , and if this is not the best time to discuss just WHAT hate crimes are, but how to report them, then I don’t know when is.

The interesting thing about LGBT+ hate crimes is that legally the law states that LGBT+ hate crimes are only assaults that are aggravated by anti-LGBT+ motivations. Although this sounds good, this isn’t into line with hate crimes based on race, or faith, in which the crime is dealt with as a ‘race hate crime’. Hate crimes based on race/faith are treated as such throughout the legal process and often have longer sentences/larger fines. There are no specific offences of homophobic, biphobic or transphobic hate crime. Perpetrators are arrested on the charges of a ‘regular offence’ such as assault. Only when the investigation continues and the motives are found, is the crime then charged as an ‘aggravating factor’, even though it could be blatantly clear that the crime IS motivated by prejudice. BASICALLY. The law is more consistent and strong on hate crimes based off of prejudice towards race/faith than they are to hate crimes for LGBT+ people, which can result in people who are accused of LGBT+ hate crimes have shorter sentences/smaller fines due to the fact that LGBT+ people have fewer protections when it comes to this issue. This can also make people less likely to report hate crimes DUE to the fact that they think they’re not going to get a fair and equal outcome.

The process of reporting hate crimes can be stressful and daunting and I want to be able to give you gorgeous and wonderful ladies the right information to be able to go and REPORT IT in whatever way you feel comfortable. But before we get to reporting it, we need to firstly discuss just WHAT constitutes as a hate crime.

What is a ‘hate crime’?

Stonewall, an LGBT+ organisation that looks to support LGBT+ people in the UK and create a world of ‘acceptance without exception’, defines a hate crime as:

‘… acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are’.

The important take away from this definition that a lot of people forget and don’t acknowledge, is that a hate crime can be towards someone who doesn’t identify as LGBT+, however if the incident is motivated by anti-LGBT+ feelings, then even if the person doesn’t identify as such, it can be seen as a hate crime. For example, you and a friend of the same sex could be walking in the street and have anti-LGBT+ words shouted at you. Your friend could not identify as being a part of the community however the hate that has been shouted has come from a place of bigotry and prejudice.

This can include acts such as:

  • Threats of violence
  • Harassment
  • Physical Attacks
  • Verbal Abuse
  • Arson
  • Harm or damage to your possessions
  • Hoax calls, abusive phone or text messages or hate mail
  • Online abuse on social media

 

A major misconception of hate crime is that it has to involve being physically abused or attacked to be able to constitute as a ‘legitimate’ hate crime. It’s legally classified as a hate crime if someone shouts homophobic, biophobic or transphobic abuse in the streets.  For example, verbal abuse in public can see the accused be found guilty of a crime under section 4 of the Public Order Act 1986.

Words used against LGBT+ people ALSO don’t have to be threatening or hint that they’re going to induce violence. For example, if you walk past a group of people who throw homophobic, biphobic or transphobic abuse to you in public, the group can be found guilty of ocmmiting a crime under section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. Don’t feel like the hate crime wasn’t ‘offensive enough’ or ‘too hard to prove’.

(All information from GALOP used here regarding the law can be found HERE)

 

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What next?

One of the most important things to do if you either think you’ve been a victim of hate crime, or are certain that you have, report it. It may sound cliche however no one can help not only you, but the other LGBT+ people around you in your community unless you say something. As I said at the start of this post, reporting hate crimes can be daunting and stressful, so it’s great to know that there are lots of alternative resources where you can report what happened to you! These include:

  •  Anonymously report your crime online through this credited police website from True Vision
  • Instead of going in face to face to the police station, you can ring 101 to discuss the matter with your local police department over the phone.
  • Find out more information at Stop Hate UK
  • You can also head over to Stonewall UK to find out local support groups to help you discuss your situation here. 

If you’re experiencing a hate crime and think you need the help of the emergency services STRAIGHT AWAY, whether that be the police or not, ring 99 immediately.

Here is more information from GALOP on ‘The Hate Crime Report – 2016’.  if you want to find out more. If you also want to find out more information on Hate Crimes or any other LGBT+ issues, head over to Stonewall UK and filter through their WELLS of incredible resources, reports and websites!

Statistics also from: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/08/homophobic-attacks-double-after-brexit-vote

 

I hope this has helped ladies and I just want to be able to educate my ladies in what they DESERVE so we all know how we can prevent hate crimes in the UK and ensure we offer the MOST support for people who are victims of such drama.

All the love ladies,

leopardprintelephant-xoxo

 

 

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