Homophobia questions may be added to British Crime Survey

Tony Grew June 30, 2008
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A Home Office minister has said the department is considering adding new questions to the British Crime Survey after a Stonewall report indicated that many homophobic incidents go unreported.

Speaking at the launch of Homophobic Hate Crime: The Gay British Crime Survey 2008, Vernon Coaker said he would raise the issue with officials.

At present the official British Crime Survey does not ask any questions about homophobic violence or abuse or about the sexual orientation of respondents.

The survey, which began 27 years ago, includes crimes which are not reported to the police and provides information to inform crime reduction measures and to gauge their effectiveness.

The BCS measures the amount of crime in England and Wales by asking 50,000 people about crimes they have experienced in the last year.

It is an alternative to official recorded crime.

Mr Coaker told that he could not say for certain if sexual orientation and homophobic crime would be included in the future but that the matter was being discussed.

Homophobic Hate Crime: The Gay British Crime Survey spoke to more than 1,700 LGB people in England, Scotland and Wales.

Three in four of those experiencing hate crimes or incidents did not report them to the police. Only six per cent reported them to third parties.

Seven in ten did not report hate crimes or incidents to anyone.

It found that a third of victims do not report incidents to the police because they do not think the police would or could do anything about it.

Some people are facing regular harassment, while lesbian couples and even their children are exposed to hatred by homophobes.

Fourteen per cent of victims of homophobic hate crimes or incidents did not report them to anyone because they happen too frequently to report.

One in five lesbian and gay people have experienced a homophobic hate crime or incident in the last three years. One in eight have been a victim in the last year.

Sam Dick of Stonewall praised the study, pointing out that the online YouGov poll was not self-selecting.

The respondents were selected from 185,000 individuals who have agreed to take part in surveys and who had indicated they are lesbian, gay or bisexual.

They were contacted by email inviting them to take part in the survey.

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