One in three LGBTI Scots have been a hate crime victim at least 10 times

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Almost a third of LGBTI Scots who have experienced hate crime have been the victim of at least 10 attacks, new research has revealed.

A survey of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and inter-sex people in Scotland found that three fifths (61%) considered themselves to have been a target of a hate crime at some point in their lives.

Of those respondents who had suffered such an attack, 90% said they had been targeted two or more times, while 30% had experienced abuse on more than 10 occasions.

The figures were revealed in the Scottish LGBTI hate crime report for 2017, published by the Equality Network.

The campaigning charity published the research ahead of Hate Crime Awareness Week, which gets underway on Saturday October 14.

Policy coordinator Hannah Pearson said: “Hate crime is a serious concern for many LGBTI people. We were shocked to find how many people have experienced repeated hate crime.

“These crimes are unacceptable in 21st century Scotland. Although the report makes for difficult reading, we hope that people will find it informative and useful, and together, we can work in tackling all forms of hate crime.”

A total of 1,445 people were questioned for the research – including 122 who did not describe themselves as being LGBTI.

Overall the survey found 65% of lesbians who responded and 66% of gay men had suffered hate crime at some point in their lives, alongside 53% of bisexual people and 80% of transgender people.

Verbal abuse was the most common type of attack, with 95% of those who had been targeted having experienced this, while 79% had suffered threats and 50% were the victim of a physical assault.

Over a third (36%) of those subjected to hate crime had suffered online abuse, while a fifth (21%) reported having been sexually assaulted.

Half (50%) of those who had targeted said the incident had happened in the last year, while 19% had been attacked in some way in the last month.

But 71% of those who were victims did not report any of the incidents to the police, while only 5% reported every attack they experienced.

Of those who went to the police, 41% said they were satisfied with the response from officers, while 39% were dissatisfied.

And where cases were referred on to the Procurator Fiscal, only 25% were satisfied with how it was handled, while 51% were unhappy – with reasons for dissatisfaction including a lack of information or communication, as well as perceived lack of support from the fiscal.

The level of dissatisfaction increased to 58% amongst those whose cases went to court – with stressful and unpleasant court experiences and a lack of awareness from sheriffs of LGBTI issues cited as reasons for this.

Overall 45% of people said they felt less at risk of hate crime in 2017 than they did five years ago, while 42% said the risk was the same and 13% thought it had worsened.

Crown Office figures showed in 2016-17 there were 1,075 reports made to the Procurator Fiscal of a hate crime motivated by prejudice about sexual orientation, making it the second most common type of hate crime in Scotland.

John Wilkes, the Scotland director for the Equality and Human Rights Commission said: ” Whilst Scotland has made great strides in reducing homophobia today’s report makes depressing reading.

“If half of LGB people in Scotland, two thirds of trans people and three quarters of intersex people, all face regular harassment simply because of who they are, plainly we all still have a lot of work to do.

“Worryingly schools are one of the most frequently cited locations for hate crime to occur. This reinforces the need for better inclusive education and for schools to be required to collect data on hate crimes.

“The most important thing is that people who experience or witness hate crimes report it. Clearly we all need to reinforce the message that homophobic isn’t just hurtful, but illegal.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: ” Scotland is now recognised as one of the most progressive countries in Europe on LGBTI rights, however we know there is much more to do to tackle all forms of prejudice and promote a multi-cultural society based on mutual trust, respect and understanding.

“We are taking forward an ambitious programme of work which includes the launch of a national campaign tomorrow, Friday 13 October, to encourage and empower people to recognise hate crime and report it.

“LGBTI hate crime is totally unacceptable and all forms of prejudice will not be tolerated in Scotland. We encourage anyone who experiences or witnesses any form of hate crime to report it immediately to the police or a third party reporting centre.”

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