Shocking details of homophobic hate crimes revealed
- Credit: RACHEL EDGE
Victims of homophobic hate crimes were spat at, verbally abused in the street and trolled on social media in a string of shocking attacks last year.
Suffolk police have published a list of the 69 homophobic hate crimes reported between January 1 and December 10 last year, following a Freedom of Information act request.
The list makes for shocking reading, with one victim in the Ipswich area reporting someone spitting towards her feet, while others had offensive taunts spray painted outside their homes.
The data also shows information about the 42 attacks reported in 2017 and the 83 committed in 2018, including an incident in Bury St Edmunds where the perpetrator kicked a female victim and pulled her hair, attacking her because of her sexuality.
A large number of victims reported being trolled by fake accounts on Facebook and Snapchat with abusive remarks sent to them either through the private message functions or on public posts.
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Victims also reported a string of vandalism cases, with six recorded incidents in Lowestoft where a suspect sprayed homophobic graffiti on railings close to a victim's home.
John Jewers, Woodbridge town councillor and co-organiser of the town's first pride festival later this year, said: 'We need to make it clear and obvious that this behaviour is not acceptable in society.'
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He said tackling homophobia is an issue everyone of all political persuasions can get behind.
'To combat this, representation is massively important. Events, like our pride festival, are to show that homophobia will not be tolerated.
'We want to spearhead the opposition and show that we are unaffected,' he said.
'When you do have things that divide people, you need to show cohesion.'
Suffolk Constabulary said the force is working hard to raise awareness of hate crime and encourage reporting.
Inspector Becky Kidd-Stanton said: 'Hate crime is unacceptable in today's society and can have a devastating and often life changing impact on the victim.
'We work hard to raise awareness of what a hate crime is, meaning we now receive more reports.
'We want victims to be confident in coming forward, and we work with partners and disability support groups to further raise awareness of hate crime and encourage reporting.'
Norfolk and Suffolk Victim Care provides a free and confidential support service to help victims and witnesses of all types of crime, including hate crime.
Support can be provided even if the incident has not been reported to the police.
For more information visit the charity's website or call 0300 303 3706.