'Sexual orientation and gender hate crimes have increased year on year'

A general view of a person stamping on an LGBT pride flag.

A person stamping on an LGBT pride flag - Credit: PA

forum+ is proud to be participating in National Hate Crime Awareness Week, which will take place from October 9 - 16. It is a week of action and education to raise awareness of hate crime, to encourage reporting, to remember those we have lost and to support those who need our ongoing support.

Hate crimes are crimes committed against someone because of their race, religion, belief, disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation, and can include verbal abuse, intimidation, threats, harassment, assault, bullying, or damage to property.

It is our mission is to challenge homophobia, biphobia and transphobia at all levels in society and tackle the inequalities and barriers faced by LGBT communities. We work across Camden and Islington to raise awareness of hate crime and provides services to victims of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crime, discrimination and stigma.

Tessa Havers-Strong says the past year has also demonstrated the resilience of our community

Tessa Havers-Strong is proud forum+ will be participating in National Hate Crime Awareness Week - Credit: forum+

During National Hate Crime Awareness Week forum+ will be joining an online panel discussion, hosting information stalls with the British Transport Police and joining with anti-hate charities and with Camden Council and Islington Council online to raise awareness and encourage report of hate crime.

London is a wonderfully welcoming City and forum+ is lucky to work in Camden and Islington, two boroughs with a long history and commitment to LGBTQ+ inclusion. However, hate crime remains an issue in society and since 2015, hate crimes related to sexual orientation and gender identity have increased year on year, according to government data for England, Wales and Scotland.

This is not a challenge that the LGBTQ+ community faces alone. Sadly, hate crime has risen across the board and virtually all minority groups have been affected. National Hate Crime Awareness Week provides the opportunity for us to reach beyond our own community, to share experiences of hate crime, and collaborate with everyone in building a safer, more supportive and cohesive society.

If you are a victim of homophobic, biphobic or transphobic harassment or hate crime please contact forum+ at caseworker@forumplus.org.uk to report a crime and for support. Find out more about our hate crime services on our website: forumplus.org.uk/services/

Tessa Havers-Strong is director of forum+.