A hate crime is a crime committed against a person or people because of a particular group they belong to – such as women, lesbians, gay men and bisexual people, trans people, Black and minority ethnic people, Jewish people, Muslim people and so on. Of course, many of us belong to more than one of these groups. In hate crimes individuals or groups are attacked because the perpetrator is motivated by hatred for their group or community, or uses it against them, or exploits a perceived vulnerability. Homophobic and transphobic attacks send a message of violence to all members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities and aim to instil fear in us.
A homophobic or transphobic hate crime is an incident which constitutes a criminal offence, which is perceived by the victim, or any other person as being motivated by homophobia or transphobia. The Metropolitan police now record homophobic and transphobic hate crimes using a specific ‘flag’ for these offences. Between 2001 and 2006 the Metropolitan Police recorded an average of over 1400 homophobic and transphobic hate crimes per year. However, research by organisations such as Galop and Stonewall suggest that many more homophobic and transphobic crimes and incidents go unreported (not all incidents are crimes).
Hate crime can take many different forms. It can include physical violence and threats but also include incidents of verbal and written abuse which can also have serious effects on people. Below are some of the most common types.