Survey finds most Scottish gay people have experienced hate crime
A survey of Scottish lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people has found that two thirds have suffered homophobic abuse, while a third have been physically attacked.
The research, commissioned by Stonewall Scotland, asked 277 people about their experiences of hate crime.
Eighty-eight per cent of those verbally attacked did not report it to the police and neither did 61 per cent of those physically attacked.
A quarter of those surveyed said they would not report verbal abuse because it was “just part of life” as an LGBT person in Scotland.
The results come just before a new law protecting gay, trans and disabled people from hate crime comes into force in Scotland. The legislation brings Scotland in line with England and Wales.
It means targeting victims because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or disability will become an aggravating factor and is likely to lead to heavier sentences.
Carl Watt, director of Stonewall Scotland, said: “Too many people in Scotland experience hate crimes – and many don’t report it, because they think it won’t make a difference or because it happens on such a regular basis. A quarter told us they accept the abuse and the attacks as part of being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in Scotland.
“As this new law tackling hate crime comes into force, we’re working with the police to give people the confidence to come forward and report crime, and show perpetrators that attacking someone, physically or verbally, because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is not acceptable in a modern Scotland. “
Justice secretary Kenny MacAskill added: “There is no excuse for any form of hate crime; it is simply not acceptable and it will not be tolerated. When it does happen, victims must have the confidence to report it, confident that they will receive a good level of service from the police and other agencies.
“That is exactly why we’ve got this new legislation coming into force which will rightly put these kinds of crimes on the same footing as racist incidents. This sends out a strong message that hate crime against LGBT and disabled people will not be tolerated.
“These kinds of measures are absolutely crucial, but we also want to tackle the root causes of the prejudice and discrimination which underpins bullying, or hate crime towards LGBT and disabled people.”