This week we are highlighting all forms of hate crime as part of our 2016 hate crime awareness campaign.
From 1 July, Bristol Pride Festival will unite the city, but sexuality and gender can be a key characteristic in hate crime. Nationally, sexual orientation was the motivating factor in 10% of all hate crimes recorded by the police in 2012/13.
A hate crime is any criminal offence that is motivated by a prejudice or hate. This can include anything that focuses on the victim’s sexual orientation including homophobia. Gender hate crime is a crime against someone for their gender including resentment of transgender people, transexuals and transvestites.
Any criminal offence which is perceived, by the victim or any other person, to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person’s actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender is a hate crime. These crimes can be committed against anyone by someone who thinks you may be lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans.
Hate crime can take many forms from a continuous campaign of subtle language by a colleague or neighbour to an isolated incident of suggestive harassment from a stranger.
Avon and Somerset Police have a dedicated LGBT liaison team. Sergeant Helen Riddell tells us more:
“Our primary aim is to be outward facing and to increase confidence within the LGBT community to come to the police when they have concerns, and to make sure we support then in the most appropriate way according to their individual needs.
It is fundamental to our work to demonstrate that we can have a positive impact on increasing reporting of offences to the constabulary – which we know is a real challenge amongst targeted communities. We are particularly pleased to note a significant improvement in our relationship with the Trans community in the last 2 years.
Team members regularly attend local Hate Crime monitoring meetings and provide up to date statistics to those around the table. We also take part in multi-agency assessments of those cases giving the most high risk concerns. These are complex and demand the greatest collaborative working practices to achieve a solution for those involved.
We have an excellent collaborative relationship our appointed partners such as Bristol Hate Crime Services who are expanding their support to the wider geographic community following the closure of other services due to losses of funding in recent times.
We hope that campaigns like this will encourage victims to report hate crimes to the police and/or supporting organisations like SARI.
LGBT Bristol is a forum for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender in the Bristol area. Established in 1994 they are a forum for circulating and publicising information about local LGBT support groups and services and events targeted at LGBT communities in Bristol and the surrounding area.
LGBT Bristol are currently conducting a survey of victims of gender or sexuality hate crime. If you have been a victim then please help raise awareness of this by completing their online survey here: http://fluidsurveys.com/surveys/lgbt-bristol/hate-crime/.
LGBT are one of four local organisations who formed the Bristol Hate Crime Service in 2013. The other local organisations being: SARI (Stand Against Racism and Inequality), Brandon Trust (working with people with disabilities) and Bristol Mind (for better health).
All of these organisations are there to help and can be contacted on 0800 171 2272. By calling SARI to report a hate crime a worker from one of the above organisations will be allocated to the case. They can help wherever you live in Avon and Somerset.
The aim of the campaign is to help encourage victims and witnesses of hate incidents - whether it is verbal, physical or on social media - to report it to the police or other relevant organisations. Improved recording of these crimes will enable a better understanding and help identify and improve services for victims in communities where hate crimes are evident.
Anyone with information about a hate incident is asked to report it either by calling 999 in an emergency or 101 in a non-emergency or in person at a police station. If you feel you can speak to us, we would prefer to speak to you on the phone or in person, however if contacting us online is the safest way for you to get in touch, you can complete our online reporting form. If you don’t want to contact us directly please use an independent agency or report it online at www.report-it.org.uk.