A Call for Equal Hate Crime Laws

Joint Letter from 75 LGBT Organisations and Allies

Dear Party Leaders,

We, the undersigned organisations call for an end to unequal hate crime legal protections in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. We call on political parties to commit to a full review of laws on this issue, as recommended by the Law Commission.

The current two-tier system gives lesser protections to people targeted because they are LGBT or disabled people compared with laws focused on race and faith hate crime. The current outdated laws send a message that some groups are less worthy of protection than others, which undermines the confidence of victims in the law.

Following the Brexit vote we saw a rise in recorded hate crimes, including those against LGBT people. Now is the right time to ensure a proper response before things are allowed to escalate.

We call on political parties to stand against all forms of prejudice by committing to review the outdated hate crime laws in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Such a review was recommended by the Law Commission after being asked by the Westminster government to examine this issue. Its aim should be to bring the various legal remedies into one clear proportionate law that provides equal protection for all victims of hate crime.

One problem with English and Welsh laws is that homophobic, transphobic, biphobic and disability hate crimes have a lower maximum sentence than race and faith hate crime. That means courts can only give a sentence a quarter as long for some types of anti-LGBT and disability hate crime compared with their race or faith equivalents.

It also means that it is often not properly documented on the criminal records of those found guilty of anti-LGBT and disability hate crimes. That prevents courts, prisons and probation services from identifying and challenging the prejudice driving repeat offender’s behaviour.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland transphobic violence is excluded from hate crime laws altogether.

The Conservative, Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties committed themselves to reforming hate crime laws in their 2015 manifestos. We call on parties to commit to equalizing legal protections for all communities that face hate crime within their new manifestos.

We welcome the current review of Scottish hate crime laws and call for similar action by the Westminster Government, Welsh Assembly and Northern Ireland Executive.

Signatory LGBT organisations:

Dr Ali. Hanbury, LGBT+ Centre Manager, The Proud Trust

Andrew Bolland, Strategic Development and Partnerships Manager, Leicester LGBT Centre

Andrew Davies, Chief Executive, Unity Group Wales

Ben Dew, Operations Director and Education & Training Manager, Allsorts Youth Project

Bernard Reed OBE, Trustee, Gender Identity Research and Education Society

Bob Green OBE, Chief Executive, Stonewall Housing

Chris Brown, Secretary, Shropshire Rainbow Film Festival

Dave Viney, Health & Wellbeing Manager, Birmingham LGBT

Helen Walsh, Chief Executive, Space Youth Project

Keith Connelly, Founder, GASBAGS

Dr Jay Stewart, Chief Executive, Gendered Intelligence

John O’Doherty, Director, The Rainbow Project

Jon Price, Co-founder, Proud2Be

Mark Healey, Coordinator, 17-24-30 No To Hate Crime Campaign

Matt Taylor-Roberts, Service Coordinator, Proud 2 b Parents 

Monty Moncrieff, Chief Executive, London Friend

Lara Jaffey, Executive Director, The Kite Trust

Lisa Honan, Director, Gender Free World

Louise Evan-Wong, Director, LGBT Federation North East

Lukasz Konieczka, Director of Services, Mosaic LGBT Youth Centre

Nik Noone, Chief Executive, Galop

Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation

Ruth Hunt, Chief Executive, Stonewall

Sarah Humphreys, Chair, ELOP

Paul Martin, Chief Executive, LGBT Foundation

Professor Emeritus Sanders, Chair, Schools OUT UK

Stephe Meloy, Vice Chair, Lewisham LGBT Forum

Susie Green, Chief Executive, Mermaids

Dr Tim Crocker-Buque, Chair of Trustees, The Raze Collective

Tom Doyle, Chief Executive, Yorkshire MESMAC

Tyrone Ashby, Chair, Merton LGBT+ Forum

Vicky Worthington, Membership & Engagement Manager, LGBT Consortium


Signatory allied organisations

Ali Harris, Chief Executive, Equality & Diversity Forum

Andrew Copson, Chief Executive, British Humanist Association

Andy Gregg, Chief Executive, Race on the Agenda

Anjona Roy, Chief Executive, Northamptonshire Rights and Equality Council

Anne Novis, Chair, Inclusion London

Becki Meakin, Manager, Shaping Our Lives

Carola Towle, National LGBT Equality Officer, UNISON

Cathy Maker, Chief Executive, Ruils

Catherine Rayner, Chair, Discrimination Law Association

Colin Adams MBE, Chair, Islington Hate Crime Forum

David Strong, Director, Disability Advice Service Lambeth

Deborah Gold, Chief Executive, National AIDS Trust

Elizabeth Blewett, Chief Executive, Reaching Out East

Geraldine O’Halloran, Project Manager, deafPLUS,

Gordon Deuchars, Policy and Campaigns Manager, Age UK London

Huma Munshi, Equality and Strategy Officer, TUC

Iman Abou Atta OBE, Director, Tell MAMA

Jasvir Singh OBE, Co-Chair, Faiths Forum for London 

Joe Whittaker, Chair, Greater Manchester Coalition of Disabled People

Jhon Marulanda Garzon, Community Development & Project Manager, Latin American Disabled Peoples Project

John McKernaghan, Chief Officer, The Brunswick Centre

Katharine Collins, LGBT Carers Manager, City and Hackney Carers Centre

Professor Leslie J. Moran, Birkbeck School of Law

Linda Burnip, Steering Group, Disabled People Against Cuts

Professor Paul Iganski, h8hurts.eu

Philip Bramson, Chief Executive, Advonet

Ratna Dutt, Chief Executive Officer, Race Equality Foundation.

Ruth Bashall, Director, Stay Safe East

Stacy Smith, Director, Her Centre

Stephen Brookes MBE, Founder Coordinator, Disability Hate Crime Network

Sue Gorbing, Chair, Safe Ageing No Discrimination

Teresa Mcginn, Chief Executive, Hammersmith & Fulham Mencap 

Lisa Redding, Chief Exec, London Voluntary Service Council.

Dr Mark Walters, Reader in Criminal Law and Criminal Justice, Sussex University

Martin Doyle, Chair, Safety Net – People First 

Mhairi McGhee, Coordinator, HEAR Hate Crime Network

Mia Hasenson-Gross, Director, René Cassin

Mike Ainsworth, Chair, Hate Crime Independent Advisory Group

Dr Sarah Crowther, Director, Refugees in Effective and Active Partnership

Dr Wanda Wyporska FRSA, Executive Director, The Equality Trust

Yvonne MacNamara, Chief Executive, The Travellers Movement

Zeenat Jeewa, Joint Chief Executive, Asian Disabled People’s Disability Alliance

Zoe Matthews, Director, Friends, Families and Travellers


Nik Noone, Chief Executive of Galop, the LGBT anti-violence charity said: ‘The current two-tier system gives lesser protections to LGBT and disabled victims of hate crime. That doesn’t reflect public opinion and we call for an equal footing to tackle all forms of hate crime. Now is the right time for a full review of these laws to ensure they are fair, coherent and effective.’

An overview of current hate crime laws can be found on pages 19 to 22 of the following report:


The Law Commission was tasked by the Westminster government to examine English and Welsh hate crime laws. Its 2014 report recommended a full review of hate crime laws. The government has not carried this out. Its report stated: ‘We share the view of many consultees that it is undesirable for the aggravated offences not to apply equally to hostility based on race, religion, transgender identity, sexual orientation and disability. It sends the wrong message about the impact of such offending and the seriousness with which it is taken…’.

A summary of the report can be found here:


Our services:

Our hate crime casework service can give you advice, support and help if you experience homophobia, transphobia or biphobia. Click for more

Domestic abuse is any kind of threatening behaviour, violence, or abuse between people who have been intimate partners or family members. Click for more

Galop provides confidential and independent advice and support for LGBT+ people who have experienced sexual assault, abuse or violence. Click for more