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Transgender hate crimes rocket by 81% in the UK

Nick Duffy June 27, 2019

Crimes against trans people have surged. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The number of hate crimes against transgender people recorded by police in England, Scotland, and Wales have surged by 81 percent.

According to statistics obtained by the BBC, there were 1,944 crimes across 36 UK police forces in the last financial year — up from 1,073 in 2016-17.

Increases of hate crime reports are frequently rationalised as being due to improved reporting practices, however the surge in anti-trans crimes is well above the increase for reports based on every single other protected characteristic.

Anti-trans hate crimes have tripled in some areas

Of the 36 police forces that provided data, 34 have recorded an increase in anti-trans hate crime reports, while West Yorkshire Police and South Yorkshire Police have seen reports of anti-trans hate crimes treble over three years.

Representatives of LGBT+ charity Stonewall suggested the rise could be linked to a surge in anti-trans rhetoric in the media and public discourse.

Anti-transgender hate crimes have risen by 81 percent
Anti-transgender hate crimes have risen by 81 percent

Stonewall campaigns director Laura Russell told the BBC: “These statistics are the real life consequences of a society where transphobia is everywhere – from the front pages of newspapers, to social media, and on our streets.

“We need people to realise how severe the situation is for trans people, and to be active in standing up as a visible ally to trans people, in whatever way they can.”

Government ‘committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms’

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Abuse or violence directed at someone on the basis of their transgender identity is never acceptable.

“That’s why we are committed to tackling hate crime in all its forms, including abuse targeted at transgender people, through the Government’s Hate Crime Action Plan.

“We work closely with stakeholders to tackle hate crime, including funding community-led projects aimed at tackling homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crime.”

The government ordered a Law Commission review into hate crime protections in October, which will “explore how to make current legislation more effective and consider if there should be additional protected characteristics, such as misogyny and age.”

Russell added: “We’re pleased that the government has commissioned a review of hate crime laws, because we want to see the law reformed so that crimes based on sexual orientation, gender identity or disability are treated equally to those based on race and faith.

“This will help improve the confidence in the way the criminal justice system deals with LGBT hate crime.”

Professor David Ormerod QC, Law Commissioner said: “Our project will ensure that the criminal law provides consistent and effective protection against those who commit crimes demonstrating hatred.

“We are pleased to have this opportunity to identify more effective ways of tackling hate crime in all its forms.”

More: Hate crime, UK

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