In the last three months following the vote to leave the EU, homophobic attacks more than doubled.
LGBT anti-violence charity Galop has released statistics that show an increase of 147 per cent since the Brexit vote in June, compared to the same period of time in 2015. What became a hateful and aggressive debate for the UK staying or leaving the EU may have fostered a toxic environment for such vile acts.
In these last three months, Galop has provided care and support to 187 people – during the same period of time last year, they helped 72 people. More than 3,000 complaints for hate crimes were made to the police in the week before and after the vote in June. There’s also been a large increase in hate crimes related to race and ethnicity, which showed a 16 per cent rise in the month after the Brexit vote in London alone, with a 49 per cent increase in the last week of July within England, Wales and Northern Ireland, according to the National Police Chiefs’ Council.
Research showed that 4 in 5 LGBT people had experienced hate crime in the period of July, August and September. A quarter had experienced violent hate crime, a third were subjected to internet hate crime and a tenth were sexual assaulted within a hate crime.
Despite these numbers, only a quarter of respondents said they would not report incidents in the future, with many stating they feared not being believed or taken seriously. The survey, which was taken from the responses of 467 people from the LGBT community, showed a level of dissatisfaction and disillusionment with how the police handled homophobic hate crime.
Nik Noone, Galop’s chief executive, said in a statement: “UK responses to hate crime are among the best in the world but our hate crime laws are far from perfect. The highest prison sentence a court can give for homophobic, transphobic or disability common assault is six months. That is just a quarter of the two-year maximum for race and faith common assault. This disparity needs redress.”
Today, the Home Office will publish a hate crime report that looks at new figures up until April 2016.