February 7, 2011
Hate crime stats soar in Scotland
Homophobic hate crimes have almost doubled in Scotland over the last two years, according to new figures. The number of recorded cases has risen from 364 incidences in 2007-08 to 666 incidences in 2009-10.
This figure encompasses a wide range of attacks on LGBT people, which include assault, sexual violence, abuse, vandalism and arson. In one incident, a lesbian and gay centre was set alight.
The coincidentally satanic number of recorded hate crimes is unlikely to indicate the true extent of the problem. Stonewall Scotland claim that 61 per cent of LGBT victims do not report hate crimes.
Stonewall’s claim is backed up by a recent survey of crime victims in Lothian and Borders. The study also demonstrated that 70 per cent of people who were victims of antisocial behaviour and 40 per cent of people who were victims of muggings and physical assault did not report the incidences.
In response to the survey, a spokesperson for Victim Support Scotland said: “It’s quite clear that a large number of crimes go unreported and that may be for a variety of reasons. For some people it may be through fear of reprisals, while others may consider the offence to be too minor.”
The situation is further complicated by the legal status of such crimes. Police forces in Scotland have only been required to separately report homophobic hate crime since March 2010, but the figures pre-date this new law. Moreover, transphobic hate crimes are often reported as homophobic incidences.
The apparent rise in crime numbers may demonstrate that more LGBT people are prepared to report hate crimes, and that police are more willing to record them as such. The recent figure is likely to be closer to the true number of incidences than the mere 114 cases reported in 2004-05.
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