Hate crime towards gay and transgender people is on the rise across Britain, with thousands of people suffering abuse for their sexuality every year. Crimes against transgender people went up by 14 per cent during 2010 and, in some cities, attacks motivated by sexual prejudice are up by as much as 170 per cent annually.
The rise in homophobic crime in England, Wales and Northern Ireland went from 4,805 offences in 2009 to 4,883 in 2010. Campaigners say the figures are just the "tip of the iceberg" as research suggests three out of four people are still too afraid to report these crimes.
The police now record any crimes they believe are motivated by homophobia – anything from persistent harassment to serious assault and murder. Experts believe the reason for the increase may be in part because more people feel able to be open about their sexuality, making them easier to be picked out by thugs. Vic Codling, national co-ordinator of the Gay Police Association, said: "People have got more confidence in themselves and, when you get people who are openly gay, that provokes homophobes. There is still stigma in Britain and, if you’re open about your sexuality, that encourages people to take up arms and act on homophobia."
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