A significant number of LGBTQ+ individuals in London are victims of hate crime on public transport, according to a recent survey. The study conducted by London TravelWatch involved over 600 participants from the LGBTQ+ community, uncovering alarming trends and feelings of insecurity.
- High Incidence of Hate Crimes: 20% of LGBTQ+ respondents reported experiencing hate crimes on London’s public transport.
- Feeling Unsafe: 43% of those surveyed often feel uneasy or apprehensive while using public transport.
- Altered Behavior for Safety: A staggering 82% of respondents admitted to changing their behaviour to ensure their safety. This includes altering their appearance or refraining from holding hands with their partner.
Michael Roberts, Chief Executive of London TravelWatch, highlighted the concerning reality of the LGBTQ+ community being on constant alert and feeling unsupported.
Sasha Langeveldt, the report’s author, pointed out the extent to which these safety concerns affect daily life, influencing even basic choices like clothing or makeup.
- Bystander Inaction: In 65% of abuse or harm incidents, bystanders did not intervene despite witnessing the event.
- Lack of Reporting: A significant 84% of victims did not report their experiences to the police or other formal support services. About half of them cited a lack of trust in the police as the reason.
TfL and British Transport Police Response:
- TfL’s Campaign: Transport for London has launched a campaign encouraging solidarity against hate and abusive behaviour. TfL’s director of security, Siwan Hayward, assured that staff are trained to handle such reports with seriousness and empathy.
- British Transport Police Initiatives: Detective Chief Superintendent Paul Furnell emphasized the police’s collaboration with LGBT charities and proactive measures to prevent hate crimes. The police conduct visible patrols and use extensive CCTV coverage for quick offender identification and arrests.
The report comes in the wake of several homophobic attacks in London, including incidents outside the Two Brewers bar in Clapham and at a Brixton bus stop.
Reporting Hate Crimes:
Victims or witnesses of hate crimes on London’s public transport can report to the British Transport Police by texting 61016.