Homophobic hate crimes in the UK have almost tripled since 2014, new police figures show.
Reported hate crimes based on sexual orientation have increased from 6,655 in 2014–2015 to 18,465 in 2019–2020.
Such crimes have increased in jurisdictions across the UK, according to figures reported by the BBC.
Homophobic hate crimes have almost doubled in Metropolitan London in the last five years, while West Yorkshire has seen a 578% increase in the same period.
Nancy Kelley, chief executive of LGBT charity Stonewall, believes that the increase reflects a genuine increase in crimes rather than just better reporting.
“We are definitely seeing a real increase in people reaching out for help across all of the LGBT organisations,” said Kelley.
“So we are very concerned that this is a real rise in people who are being attacked because of who they are and who they love.
“We know that 80% of LGBT people don’t report hate crimes. So this is really just the tip of the iceberg.
“One of the key steps to changing this is making it visible, and by standing up and saying that we shouldn’t have to experience this kind of hate and abuse.”
Sunderland woman Charlie Graham made headlines when she was violently attacked in January, in what she said was the fifth time she had been targeted for being a lesbian.
Deputy Chief Constable Julie Cooke, the lead for LGBT at the National Police Chiefs’ Council, encouraged the community to continue reporting homophobic crimes.
“I could come up with lots of examples where we are getting it right,” said Cooke.
“But I absolutely take seriously where we don’t.
“And we need to make sure that we improve and learn from those times when we’ve not done it right.
“It is hugely underreported. And so please do come forward.
“And if you’re not getting the right response that you would expect, please make sure that you tell us about that.”