Pride in London issue hate crime challenge

Besi Besemar May 3, 2015

Pride in London, the community group and annual week-long festival has launched its first ever political Pledge, challenging London’s politicians to work together to tackle hate crime.

Pride in London

THE Pride in London Pledge highlights key issues such as personal safety, access to health care, education and the need for changes to social attitudes.

It also calls for Local Authorities to ensure front line staff are educated on hate crime, for a further extension of the Metropolitan Police Service LGBT+ community liaison officers, and the inclusion of the LGBT+ community in the London-wide hate crime awareness campaign, leading up to Hate Crime Awareness Week in October 2015.

The launch of the Pledge comes as the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime discovered a spike in hate crimes in June 2014 – the month of the annual Pride in London festival and a period of heightened visibility for the community – seeing 175 offences being reported, the highest monthly volume in the last three years.

The figures, contained in the Mayor’s Hate Crime Reduction Strategy for London, also showed that the volume of homophobic hate crimes has been over 100 offences per month since March 2014, an increase of 21.5% compared to 2013.

The rise in figures is believed to reflect an increase in the number of hate crimes being reported, rather than an increase in the actual amount of homophobic hate crimes taking place.

Pride in London’s Pledge also calls for improvements to be made regarding the way in which homophobic hate crimes can be reported, including a recommendation that victims should be able to report an incident via a third-party to make the process easier.

Stephen Ward
Stephen Ward

Stephen Ward, Deputy Chair of Pride in London, said: “It’s saddening to see that the number of reported hate crimes against LGBT+ people was highest in June 2014 – the year of London’s biggest and most visible Pride celebration in over 40 years. This shows that events like Pride give LGBT+ people the confidence, strength and determination they need to safely report homophobic hate crimes to the authorities. This and many other factors such as our campaign to change social attitudes and fostering solidarity reinforce the importance of the Pride festival to London’s LGBT+ community for we only become stronger by standing together.”

“With so much of the legal framework for equality now in place, Pride in London’s attention is focused on the attitudinal and social change that is needed in order to turn those legal rights into real equality. Until we all enjoy the same freedoms – such as being able to hold our partners hand in public without fear of abuse – there’s still work to do. Pride in London’s pledge outlines the key issues we believe are absolutely central to improving the lives of LGBT+ Londoners and will further strengthen London’s position as one of the most LGBT+ inclusive and diverse cities in the world.”

In addition to tackling Hate Crime, other areas addressed within the pledge include:

Freedom to be Healthy

·      Sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates in the LGBT+ community reach are reaching ‘crisis’ levels in London. And yet given the importance of regular checks, it is disturbing that a third of gay and bisexual men who have accessed healthcare services in 2012 have had a negative experience related to their sexual orientation.

·      Pride in London calls for: An education and information awareness drive across all local boroughs to improve patient care at healthcare services to ensure they are welcoming and open spaces for members of the LGBT+ community.

Freedom to be Visible

·      In Stonewall’s General Election Pledge, they cite “More than half of young lesbian, gay and bisexual young people never hear LGBT issues mentioned in the classroom and four in five are not given information or advice about same-sex relationships.”

·      Young LGBT+ people need to hear these issues discussed. Schools can and must do more to provide inclusive spaces for learning about such issues.

·      Pride in London calls for: The inclusion of same-sex relationship education in all London schools to ensure the representation of different families and communities within sex and relationships education and the establishment of LGBT+ education ambassadors in each local borough, to work with and support local LGBT+ community groups engage with the wider community and change attitudes.

Pride in London Pledge

Pride are calling on London politicians to support Pride in London and engage with their local LGBT+ community groups so that together we can make London a leader in inclusivity, support and visibility for the LGBT+ community. They hope that all London’s political leaders will commit to making London the best LGBT+ city in the world.

To view The Pledge in full, click here: