One in six people across the UK have witnessed an anti-gay or homophobic hate crime across the last twelve months, a new study has revealed.
Commissioned by the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust
, and conducted by Censuswide, some 2,007 randomly selected respondents participated in the survey, with findings released yesterday (January 27) to mark Holocaust Memorial Day.
Researchers defined a hate crime and hate incident as “acts of violence or hostility directed at people because of who they are or who someone thinks they are” across the five strands of race or ethnicity, religion or beliefs, sexual orientation, disability and transgender identity.
It was found a quarter (25%) of respondents had witnessed at least one hate crime or hate incident based on race or ethnicity in the last year, with more than a fifth (22%) seeing incidents based on religion or beliefs.
Verbal abuse such as name calling was cited as the most common form of hate crime or incident, seen by three in four (75%) of those who’d witnessed something in the last year.
Almost a third (30%) said they’d seen harassment, one fifth (20%) said they’d witnessed threats of violence, and 14% had seen physical attacks such as hitting, punching, pushing or spitting.
More than a quarter of people (28%) reported abuse online through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, with three quarters (77%) saying there was no distinction between bullying and ‘trolling’ someone online and shouting abuse in the street.
Younger people were more willing to challenge a hate crime or incident by speaking to the person responsible for the abuse, one in six (17%) between the ages of 16 and 24-year-olds saying they had intervened during an incident in this way, compared to one in eight (13%) of those aged 25 to 34, and just 7% of respondents aged 35 to 44.
More than a tenth (12%) of respondents said they themselves had been a victim of a hate incident or crime, with 60% of them saying no one intervened when it happened, despite there being people in the area.
Holocaust Memorial Day Trust Chief Executive Olivia Marks-Woldman said the figures reinforced the theme of ‘Don’t Stand By’ for the thousands of Holocaust Memorial Day events that took place across the country yesterday.
“Today is about remembering the atrocities of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, but it’s also about finding ways to make sure they can never happen again,” she said.
“We know that silence and indifference in the face of discrimination and hatred allows persecution to take root, so we want to encourage people to stand up and speak out, in the way many brave souls have in the past.”
Last week, MP Wes Streeting wrote for Attitude magazine
to express the importance of remembering the gay Holocaust victims alongside all of the people who faced persecution at the hands of the Nazis.
“Like other victims of the Nazi Holocaust, gay men and women were rounded up by the Gestapo. Many were imprisoned. Some were castrated and subjected to cruel medical experiments. Others met their end in the gas chambers of the death camps,” he said.
“For so many of these people, the end of the Second World War did not bring about their liberation. Nazi law remained in place.
"Their suffering at the hands of the state continued. Some were even sent back to prison by the very same judges that had sent them off to the concentration camps under the Nazis."
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