Homophobic attacks have risen since the UK voted to leave the European Union in June. Hate crimes against lesbian, transgender, gay and bisexual people have more than doubled during July, August and September, compared to the same period in 2015.
Nik Noone, LGBT anti-violence charity Galop's chief executive said: "UK responses to hate crime are among the best in the world but our hate crime laws are far from perfect. The highest prison sentence a court can give for homophobic, transphobic or disability common assault is six months. That is just a quarter of the two-year maximum for race and faith common assault. This disparity needs redress."
Dissatisfaction with the police is high, with 50% of those reporting a hate crime to the authorities unhappy with the outcome. Around 25% said they would not report in future, mostly due to the fear it would not be taken seriously.
Online hate crimes have also risen, with trans people identified as those most likely to be targeted by online hate-motivated abuse. According to a charity worker interviewed for the Galop survey, "Over the last year, we have seen a big increase in online hate crime committed using social media."
Experiences of hate crime
- 80% of LGBT people had experienced hate crime
- 25% have experienced violent hate crime
- 33% experienced online hate crime
- 10% experienced sexual violence as part of a hate crime
The Hate Crime Report 2016 (Galop)
A government spokesman said in a Guardian report: "In a Britain that works for everyone, hatred against a person because of their sexual orientation will not be tolerated.
"We welcome Galop's recognition that UK hate crime laws are among the best in the world, but there is more to be done – and the government's hate crime action plan, published in July, included measures to encourage prosecutors to pursue tougher sentences for all hate crimes, including those targeting the LGBT community."
I was in a park… and two men asked for a light. We were attacked by a group of six other men, who began to kick, punch and stab us. They shouted homophobic abuse and kicked my head like a football. Bisexual man interviewee, Galop's Hate Crime Report 2016