Gay attack figures 'tip of iceberg'

HUNDREDS of attacks against Suffolk's gay and lesbian community have been recorded by police over the past five years.

Anthony Bond

HUNDREDS of attacks against Suffolk's gay and lesbian community have been recorded by police over the past five years.

Figures obtained by the EADT following a Freedom of Information request show that since 2004 there have been 331 homophobic incidents reported to the police in Suffolk.

More than a third of these were carried out in Ipswich with 118 incidents in that period which peaked at a five-year high in 2008/9 with 36 incidents recorded in the town. This was compared to an average of 18 in each of the previous four years.


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There were also 46 homophobic incidents in Lowestoft and 35 in the Bury St Edmunds area.

The figures come after a trainee policeman was battered in a homophobic attack in Liverpool on Sunday October 25.

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Pc James Parkes, 22, was off-duty and enjoying a night out when he was assaulted by up to 20 teenagers.

The Suffolk Gay & Lesbian Helpline warned that the total number of homophobic incidents could be far higher than the figures suggest because many attacks are not reported to the authorities.

Gloria Wallace, a project worker for the helpline, said: “The reporting of hate crime is only beginning to be done properly.

“But I suspect the figures are a lot lower than the incidents which are happening. Things are beginning to change in a positive way because the police, county council and victim support have been working on forming a hate crime initiative and we now have dedicated hate crime officers.”

Suffolk police said it takes all hate crime - including homophobic attacks - very seriously. The force said it was essential for victims to come forward.

To contact the Suffolk Gay & Lesbian Helpline, ring 0808 808 2322 or e-mail support@suffolkgayandlesbianhelpline.co.uk

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