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Rise in homophobic hate crime figures is down to victims having the courage to speak up

PUBLISHED: 22:26 25 November 2014 | UPDATED: 22:26 25 November 2014

There has been a rise in the number of violent homophobic crimes reported in Suffolk

There has been a rise in the number of violent homophobic crimes reported in Suffolk

An increase in the number of violent homophobic crimes being dealt with by police could suggest more people feel able to report them.

That’s the view of both a top Suffolk policeman and gay rights charity Stonewall.

Assaults on gay and lesbian people have gone up in many areas of the country, according to new figures released today.

In Suffolk, 24 violent homophobic crimes have been reported to the police so far this year, up on 11 in the whole of last year and 10 in 2012.

Assistant chief constable David Skevington said: “Homophobic abuse and attacks are absolutely unacceptable and we take such incidents very seriously.

“In the past people may have been hesitant in reporting such attacks, so the increase does suggest that people are feeling more confident in reporting them to the police, as they know the attacks will be taken seriously and that we will work hard to bring the perpetrators to justice.

“We’d encourage anyone who has suffered from such an attack to contact us so that we can fully investigate it.

“There are also routes available such as charities and third party reporting centres which we have across the county.”

Stonewall spokesman Richard Lane said it was encouraging that more people felt able to report homophobic hate crimes, but added it was still difficult for victims to speak up about them.

He said: “We believe that more and more victims and witnesses of homophobic attacks are building up the courage to speak to others and report these instances to the police.

“Hate crime is a key area of our work at Stonewall and our campaigns aim to not just encourage individuals to report attacks, but also for the police to try and make people feel more at ease with approaching them.

“We know, in the past, many have been hesitant to report crimes to the police for fear of the consequences.”

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