Nik Noone, Chief Executive of Galop, the UK’s LGBT+ anti-violence charity said:
“Online hate crime is an issue facing LGBT+ people in ever growing numbers but it often proves difficult to tackle, and is poorly understood and under-researched. Our experience has been that the threshold for prosecuting online hate crime is very high, and the investigative process is often too slow and cumbersome to respond to the fast-moving online world.
I welcome the commitment given today by the Director of Public Prosecutions, Alison Saunders, which acknowledges the harmful corrosive effect that online hate and abuse has on individuals and communities. This is a step in the right direction and we will monitor the impact on cases as they proceed.
Every week we see people’s lives massively affected by these experiences and the impact on their lives can be devastating. Today Galop releases our first Online Hate Crime Report, to provide deeper insight into online anti-LGBT+ hate crime in the UK.”
The author of the report, Melanie Stray, said:
“This report is the first of its kind, presenting evidence about the nature and impact of online anti-LGBT+ hate crime, in the words of victims themselves. It also provides insight into experiences of reporting to social media platforms and to the police, and the progress that victims would like to see. In their own words:
A lesbian woman in her 50s who was targeted on twitter with homophobic and misogynistic abuse including slurs and doctored images of her, said:
“It felt terrifying as if any kind of reaction, could turn the 20 tweets into hundreds… [These events trigger] something primal and negative, that you haven’t experienced since your early days of coming out.’”
A gay man in his 30s who was harassed and outed on Facebook by a group of people, said:
‘‘I felt my privacy was violated. It all felt out of control … This does leave a scar; it does leave a mistrust in people.”
A gay man in his 40s who was harassed Grindr and threatened with physical violence and blackmail said:
“The online incident made me feel the same as when I was attacked on the street. It’s scary to think that someone can also get to you psychologically, in addition to physically attacking you.”
A trans woman in her 50s who reported frequent online harassment and abuse, including rape and death threats, said she only reported threats to herself or her family that seemed to pose a genuine physical risk. She said:
“If I reported everything cruel and insulting that is said to me online, then I’d never be out of the police station.”
The report can be downloaded from: http://www.galop.org.uk/online-hate-crime-report
Galop provides support, advice and advocacy to LGBT+ people who experience hate crime, domestic abuse, sexual violence or who have questions about the criminal justice system. It has been operating for over 35 years LGBT+ people who have experienced online abuse can report it to Galop via http://www.galop.org.uk/report-hate/.