Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Hate Crimes: The Only Way Is Up

Be interesting to see how the media report this just released by The Press Association;
'12% surge in hate crimes revealed'
"More than 50,000 hate crimes were reported across England, Wales and Northern Ireland last year."
The latest figures - the first to be made public - show there were 4,805 motivated by sexual orientation.
Figures for 2008 showed 4,300 motivated by sexual orientation.
A rise of more than 10% is pretty worrying, but there is a big but...
The straight press almost always translate figures like these into headlines announcing an increase in anti-gay violence and/or other hate crimes.*
For years the stock answer from gay talking heads when asked about these year-on-year rises (which have happened for as long as Fagburn can remember) is to sigh and say this is a rise in "reports" of anti-gay crime, not incidents.
They argue all it means is that victims are more willing to report them to the police, and the police are more inclined (and sympathetic) to report them as such.
This is certainly true, but what if an increased gay visibility and confidence has meant anti-gay attacks are actually on the increase as well?
It's an unknown that would make for an interesting - and important - study.

* NB These new figures are for all "hate crimes", not just violent attacks; The ACPO definition of a Homophobic Incident: "Any incident which is perceived to be homophobic (i.e. motivated by animosity towards those people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender) by the victim or any other person."
These include, for example, verbal abuse, graffiti and damage to a car parked near a gay club.

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