As Sussex Police reveal the statistics for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) hate crime in the Horsham district, the council says that tackling this issue is ‘high on the list of priorities’.
A spokesperson for Horsham District Council (HDC) said that during 2013/14 there has been a ‘substantial increase’ in the reporting of hate crimes in West Sussex, with corresponding increases in those motivated through homophobia.
Despite this, HDC described it as ‘encouraging’, saying that the increase is due to victims and witnesses of LGBT crime being more likely to report it to the police than they were in previous years.
The spokesperson said: “Victim Support continues to be the lead for the Horsham District Community Safety Partnership (HDCSP) and has been running the ‘Hate Crime Service’ since 2008.”
One of the ways that the service has raised awareness has been to hold a high-profile conference in September 2013 in Arun specifically addressing homophobic and transphobic incidents, called ‘Don’t support it, report it’.
The spokesperson continued: “Victim Support provides the third party reporting capability for any hate crime or incident and takes referrals from Sussex Police, other agencies such as schools, local authorities and housing providers and by self-referral from victims, witnesses and third parties to hate crimes and incidents.”
This statement follows a recent live chat hosted by Sussex Police where a spokesperson said: “Since April 1 2013 we have had 917 crimes and 276 incidents across all the strands of hate. In the past three months it averages out at about three a day.”
The statistics span the whole of Sussex. Of these, Horsham District had only 38 crimes and 15 incidents.
Graham Hill, the Senior Manager of Victim Support overseeing the Hate Crime Service, said: “Crimes and incidents motivated by hate against people who are often vulnerable is unacceptable.
“They are seen by some as an easy target. Working with our partner agencies we are trying to encourage any person suffering these types of incidents to come forward and tell somebody.
“There is help and support available.
“We are committed to creating an environment where any person can come forward in the knowledge that they will be dealt will properly and sensitively, and will be offered support.”
If you are an organisation in the Horsham district that offers support and advice for LGBT people, let us know at the County Times.