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Crime

More than 50 homophobic hate attacks take place in London every week, new figures show

Lily Wakefield January 10, 2020
London bus attack Two women on a London bus covered in blood after alleged homophobic attack

Melania Geymonat (right) and her partner Chris Hannigan were beaten on a London bus for refusing to kiss and perform sex acts. (Facebook)

The number of homophobic hate attacks taking place in London has risen by 22 per cent in the last year alone, amounting to more than 50 incidents per week, according to City Hall figures.

According to the Evening Standard, there were 2,835 hate crimes based on sexual orientation reported to the Metropolitan Police in the last 12 months compared with 2,307 in 2018. Numbers have seen a 122 per cent increase since 2011.

In the last five years, hate crimes against trans people have nearly quadrupled, with 2,333 reports last year.

Melania Geymonat and Christine Hannigan were victims of a brutal homophobic and misogynistic attack on a London bus in May 2019, making headlines around the world.

A group of teenagers surrounded the couple, threw coins at them and asked them to kiss and perform a sex act. When they refused, the boys attacked them.

But Stonewall told the BBC that 81 per cent of people who were victims of LGBT+ hate crime did not report it to the police.

The charity’s head of policy, Josh Bradlow, said: “A crucial part of increasing people’s confidence in reporting hate crimes is knowing they will be treated seriously.

“This is why it’s so important that hate crimes based on sexual orientation and/or trans identity are treated as aggravated offences.

In a release on Thursday, January 9, Tory mayoral candidate Shaun Bailey called on the government to create a new aggravated hate crime offence for homophobic crimes, equivalent to racist and religious hate crimes.

Bailey is challenging Labour incumbent Sadiq Khan – a prominent supporter of LGBT+ rights – in May’s election for Mayor of London.

He said: “Too many Londoners feel unsafe on our streets. As someone who has experienced racial hate both on the streets and online, I stand in total solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community, many of whom suffer horrible and unacceptable abuse.”

Bailey also said he believed Khan had “failed to act to protect the most vulnerable in the city from the scourge of hate crime”, although a spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The mayor takes a zero-tolerance approach to hate crime in London… The police have City Hall’s full support in enforcing the law against anybody who commits these crimes.”

More: Hate crime, homophobic, London, Sadiq Khan, Shaun Bailey, transphobic

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