Gay rights charity Stonewall is releasing a booklet to encourage gay people to report homophobic crime.

The guide, called ‘Blow the whistle on gay hate’, will be handed out in bars, clubs and student unions, as well as being available online.

It tells victims what hate crime is, who they can report it to and tips on how to talk to police.

Research in 2008 found that one in five lesbian, gay and bisexual people has experienced homophobic hate crime but three in four of those did not report it to police.

Launching the guide in central London today, home secretary Alan Johnson said: “It’s unacceptable that anyone should live in fear of attack and abuse simply because of who they are. Stonewall’s new hate crime guide is both timely and welcome and I’m delighted that the Home Office Hate Crime Victim’s Fund has been able to support it.

“I’m also pleased to announce that from today more victims of hate crime and their families will benefit from this year’s fund of £250,000 which will provide increased access to the support, giving people the confidence to report crimes, knowing they will be taken seriously and acted on. The fund is an integral part of the government’s Hate Crime Action Plan which was launched last year and sets out our response to the challenges we face.”

Ben Summerskill, Stonewall chief executive, added: “Hate crime and the fear of hate crime overshadow the lives of too many lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Britain. We hope this guide will encourage more people to report anti-gay hate crime, and will help the police to respond and target their work more effectively.”

The guide is also to be made available online.