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Women ‘up to seven times less likely to report homophobic crime than men’

Nell Frizzell June 17, 2009
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A Metropolitan Police survey has suggested that women are up to seven times less likely to report homophobic or transphobic crime than men.

The survey, which builds upon 2002 research conducted on behalf of the Home Office, specifically examined women’s experiences of violence and abuse enacted on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Independent research shows that although the rate of reporting to the police is different between men and women, the incident of homophobic crime is similar for both sexes.

The survey’s findings will be used by the Met and other judicial bodies to encourage women to be more confident in coming to the police and to ensure that perpetrators of homophobic or transphobic violence are caught.

Commenting on the survey, Commander Mark Simmons, who is the chief of LGBT issues for the Association of Chief Police Officers, said: “The Met is wholly committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms, including homophobic and transphobic crime. We will work in effective partnership with victims, LGBT-focused organisations and other partners in improving our services, whilst robustly challenging perpetrators.”

Simmons continued: “We are striving to increase the trust and confidence of people so that they are more likely to report they have been the victim of a hate crime and strengthen our relationship with them and other community members including LGBT people.”

This confidence-building programme includes the national police campaigns to highlight hate crime and legislation changes, such as incitement to hatred on grounds of sexual orientation.

Deborah Gold, the chief executive of LGBT anti-crime organisation Galop, said in response to the survey: “We welcome this research by the MPS, which adds to our understanding of the homophobia and transphobia experienced by women, and provides further evidence of the fact that women are less likely to come forward and get help.

“We will continue to work with the police to improve their strategy and response to these issues, until women feel safe enough to come forward. Galop can provide advice and support to lesbian, bisexual and trans women who have experienced hate incidents, domestic abuse ans sexual assaults. We would urge women to tell us about their experiences, so that we can support them and help end hate crime.”

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