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One in five LGBTQ+ Londoners victims of hate crime on public transport in past year

"This situation should not be accepted anywhere in a tolerant society"

By Charlotte Manning

camden town tube station
1/5 of LGBTQ+ Londoners surveyed said they were victims of hate crime (Image: Mike Kemp/In Pictures via Getty Images Images)

Over 20% of LGBTQ+ Londoners have found themselves at the receiving end of hate crime in the last year.

A new survey from London TravelWatch made up of 600 people also found four out of five respondents change their behaviour of appearance when travelling.

This is in order to “fit in” so they avoid abuse or harassment when travelling in the capital.

Meanwhile, many LGBTQ+ people were reported as having “little confidence or trust” in the police, meaning incidents across TfL often go unreported. 

“This situation should not be accepted anywhere in a tolerant society”

Two in three of those surveyed who had experienced abuse or violence across London’s public transport network said those witnessing did not intervene. 

Michael Roberts, chief executive of London TravelWatch, said: “We already knew that LGBTQ+ people had serious concerns about their personal security on public transport, but our findings lay bare the scale of the problem.

“Two-thirds of LGBTQ+ people reported that they had experienced at least one form of victimisation on public transport in the last year. Worryingly, more respondents said London had become less safe in the past five years, than those who thought it had become safer.

“Our report highlights a community on constant alert when travelling around the capital, unable to express its identity and feeling unsupported by the wider public and the police.

“This situation should not be accepted anywhere in a tolerant society and certainly not in a vibrant, diverse world city such as London.”

“We want everyone to feel safe and be safe when travelling around London at all times”

Some recommendations have been made by the organisation, including conducting regular LGBTQ+ co-designed staff training, better infrastructure and maintaining frequency of services, particularly at night.

Further research into LGBTQ+ people’s safety concerns, and more direct work with LGBTQ+ organisations were among some other suggestions made my London TravelWatch. 

Siwan Hayward, Transport for London’s director of security, policing and enforcement, added: “We want everyone to feel safe and be safe when travelling around London at all times without fear of abuse, and hate crime has absolutely no place on our network.

“We are committed to ensuring all passengers and staff are protected from harm and we have a bold and clear campaign across our network which encourages customers and staff to stand in solidarity against hate and abusive behaviour.

“We will continue to work closely with LGBTQ+ groups and stakeholders in response to the London TravelWatch recommendations to ensure that no one ever faces abuse or discrimination for who they are.”

A TfL spokesperson added to Attitude that there is free active bystander training taking place between now and January 2024, which can be signed up to here.

Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Furnell of British Transport Police added: “We conduct highly visible patrols and dedicated operations across the railway to ensure the safety and security of passengers and staff.

“Our officers are ready to respond to incidents of hate crime immediately, and with access to more than 150,000 CCTV cameras across the rail network they can quickly identify offenders and make arrests.”