Workers’ union UNISON is holding its annual lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) conference today and tomorrow.

The organisation called for more encouragement for LGBT victims of hate crime to report offences to police.

It also recommended greater funding for third-party reporting services and increased conviction rates.

UNISON’s president Gerry Gallagher said: “Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia are rife within our society and attacks are all too common.

“We have seen a spate of hate crime recently, including the murder of Ian Baynham, who was kicked to death by teenagers in Trafalgar Square.

“Just last month a lesbian couple were punched in the face in Brighton and a life-threatening attack was carried out by 20 young people on James Parkes, outside a gay bar in Liverpool.

“So it is shocking that only one per cent of reported hate incidents result in a conviction.

“More needs to be done to save people’s lives, by helping them speak out and feel that their complaint will be taken seriously.

“We see the links between unchallenged playground taunts, workplace intimidation and violence on the streets.”

He added: “The openness of the police now is tremendous compared to what it was 35 years ago.

“If the police service can transform itself like this, so can any organisation.”

A survey released by UNISON this weekend suggests that one in four gay men face bullying at work.

It also suggested that 16 per cent of lesbian and 8 per cent of bisexual respondents are being victimised at work.

The figures come from part of wider research into bullying at work. The wider survey asked 7,151 workers about victimisation, although a breakdown for numbers of LGBT staff responding was not available.