‘Worrying’ increase in number of victims seeking support for hate crimes, charity finds

Figures show sharp rise in transgender identity-related hate crimes over 12-month period

Conrad Duncan
Monday 11 October 2021 11:43 BST

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The number of people seeking support after experiencing a hate crime has jumped by almost 11 per cent in a year, driven by an increase in disability, sexual orientation and transgender-identity related crimes, a charity has warned.

Victim Support found that the “overwhelming majority” of hate crimes recorded were race and nationality-related (71 per cent), with a spike in referrals to the independent charity’s services following the Euro 2020 final between England and Italy.

The figures also showed a 22 per cent increase in the number of people seeking help for disability hate crimes and a 20 per cent increase in sexual orientation-related crimes.

Over the same period, the overall percentage of transgender identity-related crimes soared by almost 45 per cent compared to the previous year – although the numbers of such crimes remain lower than others.

“It is both concerning and disheartening that our figures reflect this significant increase in hate crimes across the country,” Diana Fawcett, Victim Support’s chief executive, said.

“We are alarmed to see that the number of victims seeking support for race and nationality-related hate remains high, and we strongly condemn all types of racist abuse.

“It’s also worrying that there has been a huge jump in the number of people seeking support for disability, homophobic and transgender-identity related hate crimes, which we’ve seen have a damaging effect on the victim’s sense of safety, well-being and self-worth.”

Martin Davies, a 48-year-old from Wales who was a victim of hate crime, told the charity that his family had been “relentlessly targeted” due to his wife’s disability.

“The harassment and the bullying that we experienced was too much to bear, and so severe, that my youngest daughter now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder,” Mr Davies said.

“In the end we had to relocate to get away from it all and no one should have to suffer the way that we did.”

Earlier this month, an investigation by Liberty Investigates, an independent journalism unit, and The Times newspaper found that reports of hate crime had more than doubled from 52,785 in 2015 to 106,300 in 2020, according to figures obtained from police forces through Freedom of Information requests.

However, the investigation found that forces across England and Wales had resolved fewer cases in 2020 than five years ago.

Data showed that the number of hate crime cases across 40 police forces which saw officers identify a suspect and take action against them fell from 14,866 in 2015 to 14,398 in 2020.

Dame Vera Baird, the victims’ commissioner for England and Wales, said that the “shocking” figures showed that police were failing victims.

“If people are gaining the confidence to go to the police, only to be left lying by the wayside, there can’t be a clearer failure,” she said.

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