HOMOPHOBIC HATE CRIME IN CALDERDALE
With support and input from
Funded by Calderdale Community Safety Partnership
Thanks to all those involved with the Homophobic Hate Crime Task Group for the support, help and input into the research, Tracy Booker, Javier Santana-Acosta, Peter Smith, Peter Stocks, Lee Smith, and Ann Kendal.
We would also like to thank:
Peter Brown for allowing us to adapt his questionnaire for Calderdale. I would also like to thank Peter for his help at the beginning of the research, discussing and going over his research/methods/analysis in Kirklees. This provided a useful perspective before carrying out the research in Calderdale.
Calderdale Community Safety Partnership for the funding to do the research.
All those who helped distribute the questionnaire, and all LGB’s across Calderdale for completing the questionnaires and the two interviewees.
The transperson who took the time to write an in-depth letter to us. Detailing the abuse, which had been received on a regular basis.
West Yorkshire Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Policing Initiative for funding towards Pride, September 30th.
The Brunswick centre, for allowing the Homophobic Hate Crime Task Group to meet on their premises.
Calderdale Probation Service for printing the questionnaires.
© GALYIC 2001
The right of Paula Atherill and Jan Bridget to be identified as the authors of this work has been asserted by them in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
Executive Summary & Recommendations
Chapter 1: Background
Chapter 2: Literature Review
2.1 International Research
2.2 National Research
2.3 Regional Research
Chapter 3: Methodology
3.5 Literature Review
Chapter 4: Findings
4.3 Homophobic Hate Crime
4.5 Changing Behaviour
4.7 Domestic Violence
Chapter 5: Discussion
Executive Summary & Recommendations
The Home Office has recommended that local authorities and police areas consult with lesbian and gay people with regard to Crime and Disorder.
GALYIC (Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale) acquired funding from Calderdale Community Safety Partnership to set up a Homophobic Hate Crime (HHC) Task Group and employ a researcher to conduct a survey into the levels of homophobic hate crime in Calderdale. Paula Atherill was appointed on 25th May.
The aim of the project is to help towards the development of a Crime & Disorder Reduction Strategy with regard to Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual communities in Calderdale.
A literature review revealed that international, national, regional and local research (with LGB young people) provides clear evidence of the levels of abuse LGB people endure. An approximate summary of all research shows: 50-70% of LGB people have experienced verbal abuse; 40-60% harassment; and 10-20% physical assault. Around one tenth of victims report homophobic incidents to the police.
There are many projects set up to combat homophobic hate crime both in Britain and abroad; the review includes some examples.
Homophobic bullying in schools is highlighted, as are the main organisations challenging homophobic bullying in the UK.
Homophobia and homophobic hate crime are linked with internalised homophobia which has severe effects on the mental well-being of LGB people. Britain are about 20 years behind the USA regarding mental health needs of LGB people. This section includes an up-to-date review of recent publications.
The Homophobic Hate Crime Task Group and lead person, Jan Bridget, played an important role in over-seeing the research project and making decisions about important aspects of methodology e.g. agreeing to amend the Peter Brown questionnaire, distribution of the questionnaire via private networks and identified venues and dissemination.
Paula Atherill, the researcher, worked alongside the Task Group and was responsible for the literature review (with the exception of the mental health section), amending the questionnaire, transferring data from the questionnaires to computer, interviewing participants (one male, one female) and transferring data from audio tape to computer, conducting an analysis of the findings, producing the findings section of the report, producing an interim summary paper, presenting the findings to LGB people at the Pride event and at the half-day seminar.
Jan Bridget wrote the background, methodology, the bulk of the discussion section and the recommendations. Jan also organised the half-day seminar.
The report was brought together by Paula which included producing the leading and ending pages (references, glossary and appendices) and the art work.
Jan and Paula produced the executive summary.
The questionnaire generated a response of 49 LGB’s. 67% (33) women versus 33% (16) men. The study defined:
The sample provided a wide age range, from age 14 to 67, mean age 39. 86% of respondents were living in Calderdale.
Less than a third of respondents socialised mainly on the scene. 84% say ‘most’ or ‘everyone’ knows about their sexuality.
69% of respondents were working; 14% were in education; 12% were retired; 1 person was unemployed; and 1 person was volunteering. 96% of respondents were white; 2 respondents said they were disabled.
69% (34) of respondents have been a victim of a HHC at some point in their lives; 76% (25) of women and 56% (9) of men.
55% (27) have been a victim of a HHC within the last 5 years; 70% (23) of women and 25% (4) of men.
The type of incident and levels of experience amongst all respondents, women and men can be seen in table 1.
Table 1 Type of incident and level of experienced over the last 5 years.
Damage to car/property etc.
(n): Shows actual number of respondents
Women had experienced much higher levels of all types of abuse except physical assault.
The majority of incidents occurred on the street (62%) and at home (18%). 21% of incidents took place in Halifax; 24% in Hebden Bridge; 27% in Todmorden.
82% of respondents have never reported an incident to the police.
When respondents were asked whether they would seek help from Victim Support in the future; 21% replied ‘yes’; 61% replied ‘maybe’; and 18% replied ‘no’.
35% of women (11 out of 31 respondents to the question) have experienced domestic violence vs. 19% of men (3 out of 16)
The survey was limited to those people who were out to some extent and in contact with other LGB people either through personal networks or venues frequented by LGB people. LGB people who lived in the more rural areas, and who are multi-oppressed (adolescents, minority ethnic, disabled) were poorly represented. The survey was unusual in that there were more female (two-thirds) than male participants; the reverse is usually the case. There were no controls.
The findings reflect those of other British surveys but with a fifth more experiencing hate crime incidents than found in the recent national survey of over 10,000 LGB people.
Women were more likely to experience homophobic incidents (verbal, threats/intimidation, harassment, damage to property) than men although, as the national survey also reflected, men were more likely to experience physical assault.
Calderdale is unlike most other places in that there is a relatively large, out and visible, lesbian 'community' in the Upper Valley whereas there is only a small, visible, gay population. This probably accounts for the number of women who responded as well as the significant differences between male and female respondents.
There is HHC in Calderdale, including homophobic bullying in schools. Questions concerning the effects of this, apart from restrictions on behaviour e.g. not holding hands or kissing in public, were not included in the survey. However, there has been significant research in the USA which clearly links homophobia and homophobic hate crime to mental health problems.
Less than a fifth of the respondents who had experienced homophobic hate crime had ever reported an incident compared with a quarter from the national survey. Responses suggested that there was little confidence in the police or Victim Support.
A quarter of the participants had experienced same-sex domestic violence. This was not covered in the literature review and the report calls for further research into this area.
A presentation of the findings was given to LGB people at Calderdale Pride, 30th September; they will be presented to relevant agencies December 11th (10-12) at Halifax Town Hall when agencies will have an opportunity to respond to the findings.
This report will be distributed to relevant agencies; a copy will be made available in Halifax Central Library and it will be made available on internet via the Lesbian Information Service website: www.lesbianinformationservice.org
© GALYIC 2001
Chapter 1: Background
In 1997 a multi agency group consisting of Lesbian Information Service, Calderdale Health Promotion Centre and MSM (Men who have sex with Men Project), alongside some young lesbians, developed ACTION for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young People in Calderdale, a research project whose aim was to identify the needs and experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) young people in Calderdale. Funding was acquired and the results of this in-depth, qualitative, study with 15 young LGB people were published in a 140-page document in 1999. Experience of verbal and physical abuse was a small part of the study; nevertheless, the findings did suggest that a significant proportion of LGB young people in Calderdale were likely to suffer from homophobic abuse.
As a result of the research project GALYIC (Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale) was established in August 1999. The aims of GALYIC are to:
1. provide safe and confidential support for young lesbians, gays and bisexuals (LGB);
2. provide a point of contact in order to eliminate feelings of isolation and develop a sense of community within Calderdale;
3. raise the profile and awareness of LGB issues;
4. educate both heterosexuals and LGBs on issues which concern LGBs;
5. develop self-esteem and positive identity amongst LGB young people;
6. value equal opportunities, recognise and appreciate differences;
7. enable LGB young people to develop skills and confidence to help them recognise themselves, and to be recognised by the authorities, as full and equal citizens.
At the same time, the Calderdale Lesbian and Gay Inter-Agency Group (IAG) was set up. The purpose of the IAG was to:
1. encourage agencies (voluntary and statutory) within Calderdale to make appropriate support available to LGB young people;
2. help to implement local Recommendations within the ACTION Research Report;
3. facilitate networking of agencies/individuals involved in this work;
4. share examples of good practice;
5. ensure that information from the IAG is fed back into the relevant structures/policies.
The GALYIC youth support group has met on a weekly basis since August 1999 and has recently been awarded £62,000 from Comic Relief to develop its work. The IAG meets four times a year and has a core membership of about twenty individuals representing a wide-range of voluntary and statutory agencies in Calderdale.
As a result of an initiative by Calderdale Voluntary Action, the IAG changed its remit to include work with LGB people of all ages and a Lesbian and Gay Health Task Group was set up with the purpose of developing a Lesbian and Gay Health Action Plan. GALYIC acquired funding from the Calderdale & Kirklees Health Authority Community Chest to further this work.
GALYIC members have attended the West Yorkshire Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Police Liaison Initiative when it has met in Halifax. The West Yorkshire LGBT Police Liaison Initiative supported the publication of a booklet aimed at those who work with young people in Calderdale: "Supporting Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young People in Calderdale" and three members of West Yorkshire Police (none from Calderdale) have attended a Homophobia from a Multi-Oppression Perspective module run at Horton House in Halifax; two members of Halifax Police have attended meetings of the Inter Agency Group.
MSM and CKHAL (Calderdale and Kirklees HIV/AIDS Link) held discussions with Calderdale Police and Calderdale Community Safety Partnership about homophobic hate crime in Calderdale. MSM conducted a survey with LGB people but only one questionnaire (distributed with copies of the Pink Paper throughout venues in Calderdale and Kirklees) was returned completed. Alongside this survey, a meeting was organised for LGB people to meet the liaison officers from Halifax Police and Calderdale Community Safety Partnership. Only one member of the public attended this meeting and he was a member of GALYIC.
The GALYIC worker gave a presentation at the meeting, as did Halifax Police and the Calderdale Community Safety Partnership. It was discovered that there was limited funding available to help communities develop work around safety issues. Two initiatives emanated from this meeting: 1) CKHAL/MSM set up a third-party reporting system and 2) GALYIC applied for £10,000 to Calderdale Community Safety Partnership to set up a Homophobic Hate Crime Task Group and employ a researcher to conduct a survey into the levels of homophobic hate crime in Calderdale. The following application was submitted:
There has been substantial research in different parts of Britain which persistently come up with statistics suggesting that homophobic crime is rife in Britain; the Soho bombings in 2000 bear witness to the horrendous results of this type of crime. There is no reason to believe that Calderdale is immune. Indeed, the results of the ACTION for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth in Calderdale research substantiates this, as do the personal testimonies of several older lesbian, gay and bisexual citizens of Calderdale.
The Home Office (Home Office Guidance on Statutory Crime and Disorder Partnerships: Crime and Disorder Act 1998) clearly recommends that local authorities and police areas pay particular attention to hard-to-reach social groups, including the gay and lesbian community:
"It is absolutely central to the success of the partnerships that they should be seen as credible and inclusive by all sections of the community. It is likely that the Home Secretary will use ... [the] powers [in the] Crime and Disorder Act to require the police and local authorities to invite the full participation of gay and lesbian groups in the work of the new partnerships. This should do much to ensure that issues of concern to these groups are not overlooked when the audit is conducted and the strategy developed. Seeking the involvement of the gay and lesbian community must be an active process not a passive one. This community is not always visible, and may for historical reasons not find it easy to engage in a dialogue with some of the groups involved in the partnerships; it will not be enough just to write to the local pressure group inviting it to send a representative to a meeting and then thinking that your obligation to this sector of the community is discharged. You must develop creative and flexible ways to break down any barriers which may exist locally, and to encourage full and active engagement in the work by local gay and lesbian people."
The aim of the project is to help towards the development of a Crime & Disorder Reduction Strategy with regard to Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual communities in Calderdale.
This aim will be achieved by the following objectives.
Evaluation will include:
1.7 Homophobic Attack
Several members of GALYIC were attacked by a group of youths chanting homophobic phrases. One of these young men wrote three poems as a way of dealing with the pain the attack caused. These can be seen in the preface.
Chapter 2: Literature Review
2.1 International Research
Herek and Berrill (1992) provide an overview of homophobic hate crime across the U.S. from 1984 (when the first national study focusing exclusively on anti-gay violence was conducted) to 1991.
In the studies reviewed, gender differences in rates of victimization are evident. Gay males experiencing higher levels of verbal harassment (by none family members), threats, victimization in school and by police, and most types of physical violence and intimidation (including weapon assaults). Lesbians generally experience higher rates of verbal harassment by family members and reported greater fear of anti-gay violence.
Both gay men and lesbians appear to suffer comparable rates of familial abuse. Lesbians were also found to have encountered significantly more discrimination than gay men.
Suggestions for these gender differences were given, i.e., men in the U.S. are more likely than women to suffer violent crimes (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1989). Gay men have more opportunities to go to public gay-identified contexts than do lesbians, simply because there are more bars, businesses, and other organisations for gay men.
We can gain a picture of the perpetrators using anecdotal information, surveys of victims, and reports by victims to gay community-based victim assistance organizations such as CUAV (San Francisco):
"The general profile of a "gay-basher" that emerges from CUAV data is a young male, often acting together with other white males, all of whom are strangers to the victim(s)."
CUAV (Community United Against Violence) San Francisco.
Multi-oppression appears in Herek and Berrill. Studies which include racial and ethical differences in rates of victimisation found lesbians and gay men of colour to be at increased risk for violent attack because of their sexual orientation. One particular study Comstock found that lesbians and gay men of colour (n=68) were more likely than White respondents (n=223) to report having been chased or followed (43% vs. 29%), pelted with objects (31% vs. 17%), or physically assaulted (21% vs. 18%).
The information here is only a small section from Herek and Berrill, other subjects include: violence in the streets, trends in violence and discrimination, notes on cultural heterosexism, ecology of anti-gay violence, conceptualising anti-gay violence, kids who attack gays, and many more. It is enough to say a whole book has been published on homophobic hate crime.
Herek (1998) studied, Stigma and Sexual Orientation. Among his many theories, he states:
" In contrast to lesbian, gay and bisexual adults, youths are more likely to be victimized, and the psychological consequences of their victimization may be more severe."
Herek has researched bias and hate-motivated attacks on lesbian, Gay and Bisexual (LGB) youths from several sources between 1991-95 to find clear evidence of victimisation against LGB’s.
LGB youths appeared to be the victims of childhood physical or sexual abuse more frequently than heterosexual youths, although it is difficult to have a direct comparison between LGB’s youths and youths in general.
Unfortunately even the home is not a safe place for some youths, their families’ religious commitments often put up an instant barrier and youths do experience abuse from relatives. One particular study referenced by Herek found that 61% of the violence youths reported as a reaction to their sexual orientation had happened at home. Similarly youths are experiencing high levels of attacks in the community setting, (several studies referenced).
Herek also looks at attacks in schools and says:
"Because young people spend so much time in schools, and because of the relationship between academic achievement and later accomplishments, these settings are of crucial importance to our understanding of lesbian, gay and bisexual youths’ transitions into early adulthood."
Of the studies referenced gay males experience higher levels of abuse at school than lesbians, around half of gay males compared to around quarter of lesbians experiencing some form of abuse.
The Safe Schools Coalition of Washington (April 1999) conducted eight population-based studies on anti-gay harassment and the safety and well being of sexual minority students.
The surveys provide evidence of the effect of homophobia on young people. For each case there are more than ten controls. That is, for every one LGB student there are more than ten heterosexual students.
This kind of study has not been carried out in the UK; American research is around 20 years ahead of the research here.
The Safe Schools Coalition of Washington is:
"…a public-private partnership of organizations and individuals working to help Washington state schools become a safe place where every family can belong. Where every educator can teach, and where every child can learn, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation"
Four of the eight studies asked respondents their sexual orientation directly, five of the eight studies asked proximal questions and then used them (alone or in combination with identity) to infer respondents "actual" sexual orientations.
Those who said that they were 'not sure' of their orientation were omitted from the analysis in all studies; the term 'of respondents' will apply to those whose sexual orientation can be identified.
The five studies found:
In Seattle (1995) 4.4% of respondents (7,477) described themselves as LGB and 95.6% as heterosexual.
Sexual minority youth were more likely to report: having been threatened with or injured by a weapon at school in the past 12 months (18.6% of LGB vs. 10.6% of Heterosexual Youth, HY); feeling unsafe or afraid at school some, most or all of the time (20.9% vs. 11.9% HY); having skipped at least one day off school in the past 30 days because they felt unsafe (13.9% vs. 6.1% HY); being unable to think of any adults who really care about them (9.7% vs. 2.9% HY).
Sexual minority youth were also: three times as likely to have vomited or taken laxatives to lose weight in the past 30 days (9.2% vs. 2.8% HY); two times as likely to be a teen parent (6.7% vs. 3.5% HY); half again as likely to engage in heavy or high risk drug use (35.8% vs. 22.5% HY); four times as likely to have made a suicide attempt in the past year that was treated by a doctor or nurse (9.4% vs. 2.2% HY).
In Massachusetts (1997) 4.0% of respondents (3,982) were identified as LGB and 96% as heterosexual.
Sexual minority youth were: 60% more likely than their peers to report having their property stolen or deliberately damaged at school (42.9% vs. 26.8% of non-sexual minority youth); four times as likely to report having skipped whole days off school in the past month, out of fear (18% vs. 4% of HY); five times as likely to have ever used cocaine (33% vs. 7% HY); two times as likely to have been/gotten someone pregnant (24% vs. 12% HY); eleven times as likely to have vomited or taken laxatives to lose weight (32% vs. 3% HY); six times as likely to have made a suicide attempt in the past year that was treated by a doctor or nurse (19% vs. 3% HY).
In Vermont (1997) 5.3% of young men and 3.4% of young women reported having same-gender "sexual activity".
LGB students were more likely to report: having been threatened with or injured by a weapon at school in the past 12 months (29% of students with same-gender experience 10% of students with only opposite-gender experience and 4% of those with no sexual experience); having skipped at least one day of school in the past 30 days because they felt unsafe (18% same-gender experience 6% opposite-gender experience and 2% no sexual experience); having vomited or taken laxatives to lose weight in the past 30 days (22% same-gender experience 8% opposite-gender experience and 4% no sexual experience); having ever injected a drug (27% same-gender experience 6% opposite-gender experience and 1% no sexual experience); having made a suicide attempt that resulted in treatment by a doctor or nurse in the past 12 months (17% same-gender experience 5% opposite-gender experience and 1% no sexual experience).
In Minnesota (1987) 1.1% of respondents (36,254) described themselves as LGB and 98.9% as heterosexual. The study suggests:
"…They were on average, younger than most of the other samples, which may explain the lower figure…"
Same gender sexual experience was reported by 1% of respondents. Same-gender attraction and anticipated future same-gender experience was reported by 5.1% and same gender fantasy by 2.8% of respondents.
Sexual minority youth were more likely than their peers to report: having been sexually abused (22% LGB vs. 14% HY); having been physically abused (19% LGB vs. 12% HY).
Around one third of sexual minority students reported having engaged in heavy drinking (defined as more than 5 drinks at a time); around one third said they had ever attempted suicide.
Lesbian and bisexual (LB) young women were twice as likely to report having ever been pregnant (12.3% LB vs. 6.1% heterosexual girls).
American Indian youth (1991) attending reservation schools nationally were asked about their abuse histories. 2.7% of respondents (2,962) described themselves as LGB and 97.3% as heterosexual.
Sexual minority youth were more likely than their peers to report: having been sexually abused (30.1% LGB vs. 17.3% HY); having been physically abused (39.1% LGB vs. 21.6% HY); having run away from home in the past 12 months (27.6% LGB vs. 17.4% HY).
The Safe Schools Coalition has received awards for their work from:
Providence Medical Center and the City of Seattle, in 1994
Gay, Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN), in 1997
The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, in 1997
Equality Washington/Washington Citizens for Fairness, in 1998
The on-going work and support is widespread. Guides are provided for handling, preventing, intervening and surviving anti-gay harassment for administrators, educators, students and families.
The five recommendations from the organisations are as follows:
Establish explicitly protective/inclusive policies and collective bargaining agreements.
Search for, hire and retain a diverse staff.
Provide staff development.
Ensure that the library collection includes works, which portray diverse individuals and families.
Support student-led human rights groups and peer education projects.
Their web site offers a very concise resource page, including agencies and organizations for crisis support, education, training, and resources around LGB and transgender (LGBT) Issues.
The New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) was founded in 1980 in reaction to neighbourhood incidents of anti-gay violence and the failure of the criminal justice system to respond.
The project’s staff and volunteers assist survivors of hate-motivated violence (including HIV-motivated violence), domestic violence, and sexual assault, by providing therapeutic counselling and advocacy within the criminal justice system and victim support agencies, information for self-help, referrals to practicing professionals, and other sources of assistance
New York’s AVP operates a 24-hour, 365-day-a-year hotline, which is staffed by trained volunteers and AVP’s professionally trained staff. It also provides training for the police, and other law enforcement officials, staff at rape crisis centres, domestic violence agencies, and other service providers.
"AVP is the nation’s largest service agency for victims of bias crimes against lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual, and HIV-affected communities. Since 1980, AVP has provided counselling and advocacy for thousands of victims of bias-motivated violence, as well as for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, HIV-related violence, and police misconduct."
CUAV (Community United Against Violence) in San Francisco is a 20-year-old non-profit agency, which addresses and prevents hate violence directed at LGBT’s.
"While strangers attacking us on the street or other public places still make up the largest portion of incidents reported, CUAV has also responded to hate incidents perpetrated in school, workplace, social service, retail, bus, police, jail, and home settings."
Homophobic incidents reported in January 1996, (76% males and 26% females) show: 40% of attacks were verbal harassment; 50% physical assault; 35% threats; 15% robbery; 10% hate literature; 15% vandalism; 5% police abuse; 5% phone harassment; and 5% housing discrimination.
Of the crimes committed: 85% did not involve a weapon; 15% involved the use of a club; 5% a vehicle; and 10% other objects.
CUAV estimate: for each reported incident at least two other incidents go unreported.
CUAV offer, free of charge: crisis intervention, short term counselling, advocacy with the criminal justice system, support groups, and a 24 hour multilingual support line. As well as publicizing anti-lesbian/gay violence.
CUAV also offer speakers for schools and community groups and safety monitoring for community events. They routinely distribute safety information and provide whistles and self-defence classes as preventative measures.
The National Centre For Victims Of Crime in Washington provide statistics from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, 2000.
In 1999 there was a total of 1,960 separate incidents against the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender population. These incidents impacted 2,234 persons, and included 3,410 distinct crimes. Of the total incidents: 765 were reported to law enforcement; the law enforcement refused to take a report in 10 % of cases; took the report but made no arrest in 73 % of cases; and made arrests in 17 % of cases.
Over four-fifths of the perpetrators were male, and two-thirds were under the age of 30. More than half of the total number of incidents recorded for 1999 involved a stranger perpetrator.
Lesbian and Gay AVP New South Wales (AVPNSW) are running their third Anti-Homophobia Campaign. AVPNSW is a group of several organisations that work together across NSW Australia.
The first award winning, "Homophobia, Youth Violence Prevention Campaign" began in 1996 at the Hard Rock Café in Sydney launched by the NSW Attorney General, Mr. Jeff Shaw.
The second, "Homophobia, What Are You Scared Of Campaign" in 1998 grew with over 3000 high schools, youth centres, trade unions and tertiary institutes receiving campaign messages. This aimed at providing young people with the tools to start discussing their beliefs and attitudes towards homophobic violence.
The third, "Homophobia Campaign 2000" was aimed at reinforcing the commitment of the previous campaigns by introducing "Community United Against Violence Campaign". A great emphasis was placed on recognising the whole community needs to take responsibility for the involvement of young people in homophobic violence.
"The whole of community response to homophobic violence will seek to encourage the wider community to challenge homophobia and to encourage everyone to speak out against it."
The philosophy around the next campaign is centred in youth culture and youth empowerment, and is about reducing the involvement of young people in homophobic violence by creating social and educational environments which allow young people to make a choice NOT to participate in violence.
Lambda LGBT Community Services provide a national AVP and hate crime hotline. Lambda is a long-time member of NCAVP (National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs).
NCAVP is a coalition of more than twenty individual programs across the United States, which document and advocate for victims of anti-lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and HIV-positive (LGBTH) incidents.
"Lambda is a non-profit, gay / lesbian / bisexual / transgender agency dedicated to reducing homophobia, inequality, hate crimes, and discrimination by encouraging self-acceptance"
Lambda report: teenagers are targeted frequently in anti-homosexual incidents. Sometimes friends, strangers, and most tragically parents and relatives victimize gay teens. Young gay & bisexual teens that are not loved, acknowledged, and supported are at increased risk for suicide, drug & alcohol problems, and homelessness. Even those that are accepted and loved can still face a difficult time growing up queer.
In addition to anti-LGBTH incidents, domestic violence is also a serious problem in the queer communities. Gay & bisexual domestic violence occurs in probably the same proportions and causes similar problems as in the straight community. Lambda is the only service agency in the region to specifically address same-gender domestic violence.
The agency aim to create social change and achieve full civil rights, dignity, and self-respect for LGBT’s. AVP follows many active roles, including: crime prevention and education, a 24-hour bilingual (English-Spanish) hotline, peer-to-peer support groups, and accompaniment to and advocacy with police, the courts, and other service providers. All these services are free and confidential.
"Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia have laws against hate crimes. Of those, 22 include sexual orientation in categories protected"
Lambda fully recognises the under-reporting of incidents and their research found the main reason for this is that victims fear the police will not take their reports seriously.
Lambda strives to encourage people to report crimes and state: careful documentation and statistics are very important tools in fighting such oppression and bigotry.
"Lambda’s AVP serves all persons who experience harassment, discrimination or violence."
2.2 National Research
GALOP (1991) conducted a survey at lesbian and gay pride and found 41% of gay men experienced physical assault.
GALOP (1992) again conducted a survey at lesbian and gay pride and found: 40% of gay men and 25% of lesbian’s experienced physical assault; 80% of men and 72% of women experienced verbal abuse; 23% of men and 30% of women had reported incidents to the police, of these: 35% found police indifferent; 16% found them incompetent; and 22% experienced harassment whilst reporting the incident.
Richardson (1994) reported there were 155 murders of gay men and 3 murders of lesbians between 1986-94. Overall unsolved murder rate is 10% per year but 22% of gay murders remained unsolved. Two-thirds of gay murders occur in the victim's home; 3% in cottages, 10% on the street, and 10% in cruising areas.
Fahey (1995) surveyed 105 gay men and lesbians in higher education settings. 39% of respondents experienced verbal abuse and 4% experienced physical assault.
Snape et al (1995) sampled 116 people who identified as homosexual and 619 who identified as heterosexual from the National Survey of Sexual Attitudes carried out in 1990-92 among 18,876 people then aged 16-59.
These people were interviewed during the latter part of 1993 and early 1994. In-depth interviews were undertaken in early 1994 among a sample of 40 people who defined themselves as homosexual in their responses to the quantitative survey.
"…with the appropriate weighting the two samples are representative of the two groups within the population at large."
The study defined: 43% of homosexuals had insults shouted in a public place; 25% had been physically threatened or attacked; 21% had been harassed at work.
65% think physical attacks on gays, lesbians and bisexuals is a ‘very serious problem’ and 27% think it’s a ‘serious problem’; 43% think verbal abuse is a ‘very serious problem’ and 32% think it’s a ‘serious problem’.
Responses from heterosexuals in the study showed prejudice against homosexuals. When asked whether worse treatment is wrong against black people, women, disabled people and gays or lesbians. Heterosexuals replied ‘Always wrong’ : 84%; 82%; 82% and 62% respectively.
23% of heterosexuals state verbal abuse against homosexuals is a ‘very serious’ problem; 46% state physical violence is a ‘very serious’ problem; 24% of heterosexuals agreed that gays and lesbians should be banned from working with children; 9% agreed that all homosexuals are perverted.
The research provided clear evidence of the extent and effects of discrimination against gay men and lesbians. Methods for alleviating discrimination fell into three distinct approaches.
Reshaping images of homosexuality/homosexual people
Supporting and encouraging openness in discussing homosexuality
Redressing the balance of rights in favour of homosexuals
Mason and Palmer (Stonewall, 1996) conducted a national survey of 4000 LGB’s about their experiences of homophobic violence, harassment and verbal abuse.
In the previous 5 years: 34% of men and 24% of women had experienced homophobic violence; 32% had been harassed; 12% had been threatened; 6% had experienced vandalism and 4% had received hate mail.
Perpetrators of the hate crime showed: 19% had been harassed by people unknown to them; 8% by colleagues and 6% by neighbours. 37% reported incidents to the police
Response from those under 18 years of age can be seen in section 2.5
Kelly Alexander (GALOP, 1996) researched the needs of LGB’s under 25 years of age by conducting surveys across London. The study defined: 26% lesbians, 5% bisexual women, 58% gay men, 10% bisexual men and 1% undefined.
54% of respondents had experienced repeated verbal abuse; an additional 29% had suffered isolated verbal abuse, (83% responded).
9% of respondents had experienced repeated physical attacks; 13% isolated attacks; 8% experienced repeated intimidation; 9% isolated intimidation; and 8% experienced intimidation and attack, (47% responded).
9% of respondents had experienced repeated harassment; 10% isolated harassment; 3% experienced repeated property damage/theft; 5% isolated property damage/theft; and 4% experienced both harassment and property damage/theft, (31% responded).
14% of respondents had been indecently assaulted or attacked; 19% had been intimidated, (being groped or flashed at); and 8% had experienced both intimidation and sexual attack, (41% responded).
Alexander includes recommendations for the following:
Legislation, Police practice, Education, Statutory agency service provision, community organisations and GALOP service provision. Details within each of these are vast and cannot be included in this report.
GALOP runs a telephone help line, "Shoutline" offering assistance to LGB’s in dealing with homophobic violence and the police.
Smith (1997) in early 1990s gay men were murdered at a rate of one every fortnight.
Hickson et al (1997) through National Gay Men’s Sex Survey found; 37% (of 581 gay men) had experienced hate crime in the last five years of these 50% had been assaulted or attacked. The study also found young men were more likely to experience hate crime than older men.
Project SIGMA, a study involving 387 gay men showed 68% experienced verbal abuse, 24% physical assault, (three had been knifed). All but one of these assaults involved male assailants (often multiple assailants) and most assaults were perpetuated by strangers.
2.3 Regional Research
Brighton Lesbian & Gay Switchboard (BLGS, 1990-91) conducted randomly sampled interviews with lesbians and gay men on the scene in Brighton. The study defined:
Verbally abused in the past year 52% 58%
Suffered homophobic violence in past year 21% 26%
Would not report homophobic violence to police 52% 49%
Afraid of experiencing homophobic violence in certain public places 50% 75%
Believe incidence of homophobic violence has increased in past year. 58% 82%
BLGS (1998) conducted a survey of 195 lesbians and gay men (63% men, 37% women) at Brighton Pride 1996. 46% of respondents lived in Brighton and Hove.
The study defined: 64% of lesbians experienced homophobic abuse; 9% experienced homophobic violence; 57% of gay men experienced homophobic abuse; and 14% experienced homophobic violence.
In response to perceptions of homophobia: 23% of lesbians and 25% of gay men avoided going to certain places; 9% of lesbians and 16% of gay men avoided going out at night; 16% of lesbians and 19% of gay men avoided using the scene; 16% of lesbians and 22% of gay men ‘toned down’ their image.
Of those who had been attacked in the previous 12 months: 75% of lesbians and 38% of gay men did not report it to the police; 50% of lesbians and 46% of gay men who did report were not satisfied with the outcome; 23% of lesbians and 16% of gay men felt they were treated differently because of their sexual orientation.
Diversity Alliance, Brighton and Hove (1998) formed as a subgroup of Lesbian & Gay Community Safety Forum (LGCSF) to specifically address harassment, violence and abuse against lesbian and gay young people in schools and other young peoples settings.
The LGCSF was established in 1997 to address community safety issues for lesbians and gay men in Brighton and Hove (B&H). Initial proposals for a campaign to reduce homophobic bullying against young people were included in the B&H Crime Reduction & Community Safety Strategy. Diversity Alliance as part of LGCSF were charged with the task of taking this forward.
Diversity Alliance conducted a massive campaign (1999) "Homophobia – What Are You Scared Of?" Across B&H.
The aim was to hold an "Anti-Homophobia Awareness Week" in October 1999 centred on a high profile advertising campaign using celebrity advocates to promote anti-homophobia messages to young people in B&H. As well as provide a focus for training and for developing strategies and resources to prevent homophobic crime against young people and support its victims.
Outcomes for the campaign included:
A reduction in the involvement of young people in violence and harassment against lesbians and gay men.
The creation of social and educational environments, which allow young people to make a choice NOT to participate in violence and harassment.
The creation of safe social and educational environments, which allow lesbian and gay young people to develop a positive self-identity and seek help and support when needed.
The creation of an effective homophobic violence and harassment reporting mechanism for young people common to all local agencies working with young people.
Increased local knowledge of the extent of violence and harassment against young lesbians and gay men.
Objectives of the campaign included:
Training for staff / volunteers in connection with LGB’s
Campaign design & production
Work in schools, providing support for LGB’s, support in addressing issues of homophobia and distribution of campaign materials.
Work in other young people’s settings, with similar support to that given in schools
Reporting mechanism for LGB’s
Evaluation of the process, impact (outputs) and outcomes of the campaign
A very successful campaign, evaluated using questionnaires sent out to all people who received copies of the posters/postcards. On the basis of the success, Diversity Alliance planned a similar campaign to run in October 2000. A three-year project, aimed at expanding the campaign over East Sussex (in the first year) and West Sussex (second year) and employing a project co-ordinator.
Lewisham safer cities survey (1992) involved 242 gay men. 81% experienced verbal abuse, 45% physical assault, of these 16% reported incidents to the police. 32% worried ‘about violence’, 55% felt violence against gay men had increased.
London Metropolitan Police (the Met) are actively involved with "Working For A Safer London". In November 1998 the Met launched "Policing Diversity – Protect & Respect". The scheme was launched in two phases. Phase one concentrated on tackling racism. Phase two is aimed at developing issues from phase one into action to benefit everybody. Phase two has an action plan over the next two years, 2001 – 03.
Service has been improved to victims of domestic violence, race crime and homophobic crime through Community Safety Units and relief officers.
"The lesbian and gay community is one of the most enthusiastic and dynamic groups to work with. Through the FUSION initiative we are taking a lead in improving standards for this community, ensuring their needs are taken into account".
DCI Graham Collins, Kensington & Chelsea’s crime manager
The anti-terrorist branch worked closely with the Independent Advisory Group and the LGBT Advisory Group, during the Brixton, Brick Lane and Soho bombings.
Homophobic crime rates are available on the Met web site, for example summaries for July 2000 show 186 homophobic incidents were recorded in the whole of the Met district. Statistics are vast across the district and cannot be included in this report.
The Met also distributed a free five minute phone card and leaflet across the district, (2001) "Help Stop Crime – It’s Your Call". The leaflet encourages people to report hate crimes, (specifying homophobic crime) and domestic violence. It lists all Community Safety Units and contact numbers across the district, Racial and Violent Crime Task Force contact number and the Met web site address.
Jackson (FUSION, 2000) carried out a survey on homophobic abuse of gay men and lesbians who live and work in Kensington and Chelsea (K&C). 165 responded, (93% male, 7% female); 65% were between the ages of 25 and 44.
Around 20% of the sample felt it very likely that they would experience homophobic abuse in K&C; Around 12% reported that they thought about the possibility ‘often’ or ‘always’, respondents reported that these thoughts were commonly accompanied with feelings of anger and concern, with fear less frequently experienced; 10% said that worries about abuse affected their everyday life ‘extremely’.
Of those who experienced or witnessed a serious incident, 25% reported the incident to the police and only half of these were happy with the way in which they were treated.
Jackson recommended from the response of the questionnaire that a lesbian or gay officer would encourage reporting rates and sending ‘self reporting forms’ to a specialist hate crime unit.
London Metropolitan Police have taken issues on board from the FUSION research.
OXAIDS (1997) conducted a survey with 221 lesbian, gay and bisexual people in Oxford. 31% had been subject to homophobic abuse, harassment and / or violence, 23% of incidents occurred on the streets. 17% reported incidents to police, 20% felt relations between police and local LGB’s were poor or very bad, 47% said they would not be happy contacting police about an incident and 67% said they would have felt happier reporting the incident to an LGB organisation.
Greater Manchester Lesbian and Gay Policing Initiative (1998) collected information over two hours at Manchester’s Mardi Gras ‘women only’ space in the form of a questionnaire.
Of 146 respondents the study defined: 86% lesbians had experienced violence and/or harassment; 38% verbal abuse; 20% harassment; 14% sexual assault/harassment; and 14% violent attacks. The total number of incidents recorded came to 222.
The perpetrators of this crime (if the respondent knew who the person was) were: 36% neighbour; 24% work colleague; 19% family member; 14% ex-partner (included male and female); 5% partner; and 3% friend.
Just over half (52%) of the respondents thought the motive for the harassment/violence was because of their sexual orientation; 41% because of gender; 5% because of race; and 2% mentioned disability as being a factor.
Almost half (45%) of the harassment/violence took place in the street. Only 6% of these cases were reported to the police.
Visibility of respondents:
" Just over half of the lesbians said they were ‘out’ generally and when asked where they socialise the majority said mainly in friendship groups and with other lesbians, rather than within the commercial scene".
The report included fourteen recommendations for the Greater Manchester community to tackle the problem of homophobic hate crime, mainly for Greater Manchester Police to take on board the issues raised and to link them into action being developed for the crime and disorder strategy.
Greater Manchester Police have an ‘Incident Self Reporting Form’. The form is freepost and asks details of the incident that the person wants to report, there is an optional section for the person to leave their name and contact details.
Mullen (1999) and Berkshire Anti-Homophobia Group (BAHG) conducted a study across Reading in partnership with ReachOut (Reading’s Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth Group). 314 responded (63% male, 36% female and 1% transsexual).
85% of respondents lived in Berkshire, 59% in Reading, and the remaining 15% were people who travelled from other areas to access both the ‘scene’ and community organisations.
204 (65%) respondents experienced verbal abuse, (130 men 73 women, 1 transsexual); 56% because of their sexual orientation; 12% of verbal abuse cases were reported to the police.
96 (31%) respondents had been physically abused, (64 men, 30 women, 2 transsexuals); 21% because of their sexual orientation; 28% of cases reported to the police.
73 (23%) respondents had been harassed (46 men, 25 women, 2 transsexuals); 16% because of their sexual orientation; 25% of cases reported to the police.
82 (26%) respondents had been sexually abused, (43 men, 39 women); 7% by a family member, 7% by a friend, 3% by a gang member, 4% by a partner, and 13% by a stranger; 21% of sexual abuse cases reported to the police.
The aim of the BAHG is to work towards making local communities in Berkshire safer LGBT’s. Results of the study closely reflected those found in other British studies researched by Mullen between 1980-97.
Mullen clearly recognised the seriousness of homophobia and homophobic crime from the results of this survey and provided several recommendations for the Berkshire community:
Establish a homophobic incidents forum and reporting service.
The LGBT community and statutory and voluntary agencies to be made aware of the service.
Nominate a homophobic liaison officer for each police area in Berkshire.
The study and its finding should be brought to the attention of existing and new police officers, other statutory and voluntary sector workers and local authorities’ and police areas’ crime and disorder audits and strategies should make full use of the findings.
Training on issues around homophobia, homophobic violence and sexuality should be provided for existing and new police officers.
Distribute the Thames Valley police document, Homophobia: A Guide for Police Officers, throughout the force.
The policing of public sex environments (cottages and cruising areas) should be conducted in an appropriate and sensitive manner by experienced officers with input from sexual health outreach workers.
Secondary schools in Berkshire should ensure their schools are safe environments for LGB’s.
Statutory and voluntary sector agencies should review their policies, procedures and training provision to ensure issues in the report are acknowledged and included.
BAHG should develop and maintain links with other local fora concerned with other forms of hate crime and hidden crime.
BAHG should obtain funding for a development project, employing a full-time development worker with administrative support, to further the work of the group.
John, S. and Patrick (1999) conducted a survey and 21 in-depth interviews across lesbians and gay men in Glasgow. 137 responded, (47 % gay males, 43% lesbians, 7% bisexual, 3% other).
The following incidents had been experienced because someone knew or presumed respondents to be gay or lesbian: 85% had verbal insults directed to them; 60% had been threatened with physical violence; 44% stated they had been chased or followed; 37% stated they had been sexually harassed; 26% had been harassed by the police (without assault); and 16% had been raped.
93% of respondents said they knew one or more lesbian or gay man who had been verbally harassed, threatened with violence, or physically attacked because they were assumed to be either lesbian or gay.
John S. from Glasgow Women’s Library responded to a recent email with the following comments:
Since the draft of the research was presented to Glasgow City Council, things have been very slow, but we have secured some funding to re-edit, tidy up and publish the research and hope to have it available next year.
Some of the recommendations have been acted upon. There has been a really significant shift in police support and I am working with the Council to complete a handbook on raising awareness of homophobia and lesbian and gay issues.
2.4 Local Research
Sal Hampson (1998) conducted a survey with lesbians living in West Yorkshire. Of the 118 respondents the study defined: 69% experienced verbal threats/abuse; 76% stated sexual orientation as motivation; 11.8% reported the incidents to the police.
32% experienced threatening/abusive/obscene phone calls; 46% stated sexual orientation as motivation and 24% reported incidents to the police.
32% experienced sexual harassment; 47% stated sexual orientation as motivation; 3% reported incidents to the police.
24% experienced physical assault in a public place; 44% stated sexual orientation as motivation; 28% reported incidents to the police.
9% had been raped; 33% stated sexual orientation as motivation; 11% reported the incident to the police.
15% experienced graffiti/damage to their home; 67% stated sexual orientation as motivation; 45% reported incidents to the police.
Recommendations from Hampson are directed towards the Police in West Yorkshire. Initially, they need to display a genuine concern with crimes committed against lesbians to convince lesbians that they will be taken seriously. They also need to make public the action that they are able to take following homophobic incidents in order to facilitate realistic expectations of police response.
Bridget (1999) conducted fifteen in-depth interviews with young people in Calderdale (7 lesbians and 8 gay men). Amongst the many findings the study defined:
Physical and Verbal Harassment
60% of the participants had experienced harassment due to their sexual orientation. These included name-calling, bullying and physical abuse:
"I was in Manchester, in a gay bar. I was with my then girlfriend. A couple of guys, who seemed to be watching us. We stood talking, kissing and hugging. They decided to crack on to us. Asked us out and started making obscene comments like 'We can watch you in bed!' and things like that. They also asked 'Why are you two gorgeous women lesbians?' Pretty horrible and disgusting. Being in a gay bar we didn't expect it. I was gob smacked it had happened. We just walked off." (F)
"I was on a paper round and was harassed by people in the same year at school. I was bullied by my friend at school. My brother used to bully me too. Then again, at school, by older children. It was mainly verbal. I got beat up once. [I didn't complain] you are expected to stick up for yourself." (M)
"[I got] queer-bashed outside the Town Hall in Halifax at Christmas. Got beat up. They called me a faggot and other names. [I complained to the police. It turned out] the car was stolen and they could not trace the occupants. They gave me the number of victim support and investigated it thoroughly. They came to my home and checked up on me. I felt they did all they could. I was shaken up at the time but I am over it now." (M)
"Just the sort of usual comments in the street. I hit a bloke outside of Nelsons because I got into an argument because he was having a go at us being lesbian. We had a row. He said 'You are all lesbians because you have been sexually abused as children.' The next thing I knew I had hit him. I don't really remember much. We were all shouting." (F)
Same-Sex Domestic Violence
One-third of the participants experienced abuse within same-sex relationships:
"He would get right angry and nasty and he hit me once. He actually hit my friend." (M)
"Physical and mental abuse in one relationship." (M)
"Once or twice it got out of control and he threw a coffee table at me. It missed, thank god. He grabbed me by the throat and threw me up against the wall." (M)
"Physical abuse in one relationship." (M)
"She used to put me down a lot, make me feel crap and she used to hit me. Even though she had been in a violent relationship herself in the past." (F)
26% had been beaten whilst growing up; 20% had been sexually abused whilst growing up; and 26% had been raped
"My brother, sister and dad used to beat me up. I have also had scraps with my mum. I think it was when I was at home and aged 13." (M)
"[I was physically abused by] my stepmother and my uncle [behaved in a sexual way towards me]. I was also raped as a teenager. [I didn't seek help] because I thought I had done something wrong." (F)
Three of the participants had experienced sexual abuse whilst growing up (two female, one male) and four had been raped (two female, two male). Some explained what happened:
"When I was growing up. My stepfather did it. I didn't get help for the same reasons other people don't I suppose. My stepfather also [sexually abused me]. I didn't get any help. I think it was to do with me being different. I was also raped in my teens by a boyfriend I was seeing. Again, I didn't get help." (F)
"I have never told a family member about it but have told friends. When I was living with my dad and he went to pick up my step-mum from work and my brother would get into my bed and you know, basically make me give him a blowjob. It went on for a couple of months and then we moved and my brother left home." (M)
"My uncle [touched me inappropriately when I was growing up]. I was also raped as a teenager." (F)
"I was raped in my teens. .... I had run away from home and I'd gone to my best friend's house. We went to this ...[chap's] house and he had a load of booze and that. I got drunk and I was out cold on the floor. I woke up and he had raped me. I felt dirty and horrible and I felt sick. I contacted the police but when they interviewed me they were a bit offhand and abrupt." (M)
Peter Brown (2000) conducted a survey of LGB’s across Kirklees. 71 responded, 65% male and 35% female. 79% of respondents were ‘out’ as a lesbian, gay or bisexual to either all or most people.
66% of the respondents had experienced at least one homophobic incident, (72% of female vs. 63% of male respondents); 60% of female respondents had experienced more than one homophobic incident compared to 43% of men; 24% of female respondents had experienced more than five homophobic incident compared to 7% of men.
"Indicating female respondents were slightly more likely to have experienced homophobic crime and furthermore were also more likely to have experienced such a crime on a number of occasions."
44% of women and 20% of men reported that the last homophobic incident they had experienced was name-calling/verbal abuse; 16% of women and 2% of men reported that the last homophobic incident they had experienced was damage to property; 4% of women and 17% of men reported that the last homophobic incident they had experienced was physical assault.
Results from this survey closely reflect the national picture around homophobic hate crime. Brown states:
"…This is an initial piece of work with LGB’s…"
" It is clear that the police have a long way to go in improving the service they provide to LGB’s wishing to report incidents in Kirklees…"
"However, progress is likely to be slow."
Conclusions and recommendations imply the need for more research, and also:
The criminal justice system should take this opportunity to tackle homophobic incidents.
Victim Support, the police and all other organisations offering specific services to LGB’s must take on board the expressed preferences in the survey, i.e. LGB staff and volunteers must be available.
Training around homophobia, heterosexism, and lesbian/gay/bisexual-specific issues must be given to all staff and volunteers, (Although, some LGB’s would be happy to use ‘mainstream’ services if they were confident of the response).
Organisations with sexuality included in their equal opportunities policies need to challenge this. Ask what can be done to improve the safety and supportiveness of the work environment to enable staff to be open about their sexuality.
Organisations need to be safe enough for those who work there to be ‘out’ themselves.
Organisations who have already begun to tackle these issues must learn how to communicate this effectively.
Multi-oppression was identified as a key factor in the isolation of LGB’s. The survey did not reach people from ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, transgendered people, teenagers or older people. It is vital to take this into account when looking at service provision.
"If the issues are addressed real partnerships are needed with LGB’s and real ownership of projects."
West Yorkshire Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Policing Initiative was established in November 1997. The initiative meets on a monthly basis at alternative venues around West Yorkshire and also holds a general meeting each year.
The initiative aims to provide better services for the LGBT community: equality, trained officers and a safe environment. The Project works alongside Yorkshire MESMAC sexual health project, MSM (Men who have Sex with Men) project, Victim Support and STAR (Surviving Trauma After Rape).
From 1st April 1999 all divisions of West Yorkshire police adopted a system of recording and investigating homophobic incidents. The recording procedure is identical to the recording of racist incidents and was to be supported by the PACT campaign, (Positive ACTion against hate crime), which seeks to:
Encourage lesbians and gay men to report homophobic incidents and other crimes to the Police
Provide a mechanism for the Police to assess the scale and nature of homophobic incidents which are occurring, through separate recording and monitoring procedures
Provide the Police with opportunities to enhance community safety by seeking to prevent other incidents occurring.
2.5 Homophobic Bullying in Schools
Trenchard and Warren and London Lesbian and Gay Teenage Group conducted a survey (1984) of 416 young lesbians and gays, the study defined: 45% of respondents had problems at school because of sexual orientation; 58% had experienced verbal abuse; and 21% had experienced physical assault.
Mason and Palmer (Stonewall, 1996) national survey, of those under 18 years of age: 48% of respondents experienced violence; 61% harassed and 90% had been called names because of their sexuality.
24% had been attacked by fellow students; 44% harassed by fellow students; and 79% called names by fellow students.
50% of the violent attacks had involved fellow students and 40% taken place in school; parents and families of these people were responsible for 5% of assaults; 14% of harassment; and 19% of verbal abuse.
A lower percentage of under 18 year olds reported incidents to the police (than those over 18, section 2.2) because of the age of consent and fear of prosecution.
Douglas et al (1997) conducted a survey of 307 secondary schools in England and Wales. The study defined: 82% of teachers were aware of homophobic verbal bullying; 26% were aware of homophobic physical bullying in their schools; 99% had bullying policies; 9% made reference to lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils; 50% of schools reported difficulty addressing the needs of lesbian, gay and bisexual pupils because of section 28.
The Institute of Education states:
"Although the direct legal effect of Section 28 on school policies is minimal, the existence of the legislation sends a clear signal that there may be something dangerous or wrong about addressing the needs of lesbian, gay or bisexual pupils. This is an unnecessary, damaging and confusing message for teachers which adversely affects the lives of the young people with whom they work."
"The abolition of Section 28 would enable teachers and governors to work in partnership with parents to address many of the issues highlighted in this report. Its abolition would assist the Department for Education and Employment and Local Education Authorities to provide leadership in schools to enable the development of policies and practices that promote respect for all children and young people, and so challenge discrimination and abusive behaviour within school communities."
GALOP’s survey (1998) of London youth based on 202 surveys found: 33% suffered verbal abuse in school; 35% suffered physical abuse; 34% were harassed and 7% suffered sexual abuse. Of those at college 3% suffered verbal abuse and 2% were harassed.
Rivers (1998) surveyed 140 lesbians, gay men and bisexuals. 82% experienced name-calling at school, 71% experienced ridicule, 60% had been hit or kicked, 48% experienced theft, 52% had been frightened by a look or stare and 40% had attempted suicide.
Duncan (Stonewall, 1999) carried out observations and interviews with boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 16 at five large comprehensive co-education schools. The research showed that bullying, especially of boys, is widespread in schools. 16-year-old boys who were interviewed said:
"If there were gay kids in this school, I’d move school."
"If my best mate told me he was queer, I’d slap him, I would. I wouldn’t have him coming near me."
The report suggests that teachers do not have the skills to deal with sexual bullying, particularly in relation to sexual orientation:
"If they (teachers) talk about homosexuality they are in fear that a counsellor or parent will complain. It is difficult enough for children to tell a teacher that they have been bullied. It is much more difficult to talk about sexual bullying."
Action from Stonewall on homophobic bullying:
"All political parties now agree that homophobic bullying is something which needs to be tackled. Following research commissioned by the Stonewall Iris trust and carried out by London University’s Institute of Education, we are developing best practice guidance on addressing the issue in schools."
Bridget (1999) conducted fifteen in-depth interviews with young people in Calderdale (7 lesbians and 8 gay men).
Amongst the many findings the study defined: 67% had experienced verbal abuse at school because of their sexual orientation:
"I would have stayed on to do my 'A' levels if it had not been that I hated school and could not wait to get away. I got the aggro of being a gay person. I was scared of people at school. I was always getting snide comments. [The staff] didn't know. I bottled up my feelings. (M)
"Verbal abuse like dyke, as I did not dress very feminine. I didn't talk to anyone about it and the teachers didn't know." (F)
"I had a lot of female friends at school and so I got called names like 'puffter.' I don't think they meant it in that way, it was just an expression that they used. I didn't think anything of it at the time." (M)
"If I walked past people I would just get called 'lesbian' and a lot of them said things like 'don't hang out with Suzie, she'll rape you' and things like that. Quite a negative response. A couple of my friends were alright. [The staff were] positive, supportive. [The teacher] said that it might just be a phase. She herself had had sexual relations with women as a teenager and was now married with children. Even if it wasn't a phase, then it doesn't matter. I think she told me what I needed to hear at the time. It really assured me that I wasn't just a lesbian that I was a person. [I felt] uncomfortable and insecure and that I didn't trust anybody. It made me feel very different, more than anything else, that it was something to be ashamed of." (F)
"I never got beat up. It was name-calling 'queer' behind my back and that. I stuck up for myself so I think that's why." (M)
All of the participants overheard name-calling:
"Classmates just made a joke of it and laughed and joked about it." (F)
"Name-calling and jokes. It made me scared in a way in case they were talking about me and worried in case they knew." (F)
"Name-calling. They would talk about gay people in the media or on the television." (M)
"Name-calling and jokes about AIDS." (M)
"Name-calling. A friend of mine overheard it and she came up to me and sat me down and said 'If you are then it is okay with me and if you ever want to talk about it then I will.' She said she didn't feel uncomfortable with me and as a result I let everything out. She then betrayed me. Told other people that I fancied her. I had told her I felt attracted to her. I felt very hurt as I had lost a friend. Hurt as much as the name-calling. I had trusted her and the results were pretty harsh. " (F)
Recommendations for schools included:
Introduce LIS Access Model.
Employ a member of staff who is responsible to develop support for LGB pupils.
School’s bullying policies to include homophobic violence.
Develop curricula to include positive images.
Develop libraries to include positive books.
Develop resources for teachers.
As an interim measure, all school nurses to be circulated with a relevant article on issues facing LGB young people.
Recommendations for Youth Services included:
Establish one main support group, which meets regularly that, has strong links with all other services for referrals, but which can also provide specific areas of expertise.
Develop an LGB Helpline in Calderdale.
Both of the recommendations for the youth service have now been established, GALYIC (Gay and Lesbian Youth In Calderdale) provides a support group for LGB’s under the age of 25, which meets on a weekly basis and also provides a telephone Helpline. Calderdale Health Promotion Centre circulated an article to all school nurses and GPs in Calderdale.
2.6 Challenging Homophobic Bullying in the UK
The NUT (National Union of Teachers) held the first conference on homophobic bullying in London April 2001. A conference aimed at combating homophobic bullying in schools.
NUT has produced a booklet "An Issue for Ever Teacher – NUT Guidance on Lesbian and Gay Equality In Education". The booklet provides an overview of LGB’s in education, homophobia, the law and advice.
The NUT’s work includes:
Holding an annual conference on lesbian and gay equality in education
NUT has a: Working Party on Lesbian and Gay Equality in Education.
Actively involved in TUC activities which promote lesbian and gay equality
At an international level, has worked with other commonwealth teachers’ unions and Education International, a federation of education unions, to develop policy on lesbian and gay equality.
School’s Out! National is an organisation, which works for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transperson equality in education. Their aims are:
To provide both a formal and informal support network for all lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transpersons in education.
To research, debate and stimulate curriculum development on issues of sexuality.
To campaign on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transperson issues as they affect education and those in education.
CHRYSALIS The Awareness Team (Sanders, Patrick & Talbot) – Work for the rights and perspectives of lesbians, gay men and bisexual people, everywhere and especially in education.
School’s Out! Held a national conference in May 2001 to address homophobia in schools, with the support of CHRYSALIS.
Together they have produced "Legislation and DfEE Guidance on Tackling Homophobia in Schools" and a teachers pack "Tackling Homophobia Creating Safer Spaces" (both available on the School’s Out! web site).
JAAHB (Joint Action Against Homophobic Bullying) gives advice on addressing homophobic bullying. Set up in 1999 and has its own website
The Project has produced a three-part resource for Local Education Authorities, young people, school staff and governors, and parents.
Guidelines for Schoolson creating a secure whole-school environment to discourage homophobic bullying, and on dealing with it when it happens.
Workshops for school staff, on implementing the Guidelines within their own school environment.
Helpline for victims, and their parents, carers, teachers and other school staff.
DFES (Department For Education and Skills) reissued its Anti-bullying pack "Don’t suffer in silence" in December 2000 to include a statement on sexual bullying and how it can be related to sexual orientation.
The pack includes a video for teachers to use in classrooms, although the video does not cover homophobic bullying.
GLEE Project – a network of education initiatives to combat homophobia and heterosexism. The project is an interactive network of teacher training, curriculum development and research initiatives to combat homophobia and heterosexism. Funded by the European Commission as part of the Socrates Comenius Programme for school education.
In line with the Amsterdam Treaty (Article 13 EC, see glossary) the project demonstrates the European Union’s commitment to combating all forms of discrimination.
The project provides a leadership training course for primary and secondary school teachers across Europe, which aims to:
Raise awareness of the extent and destructive effects of homophobia and heterosexism on all members of the school community
Develop strategies to combat heterosexism and homophobia in school policies, practices and curricula to create a safe learning environment for all
Work towards combating all forms of discrimination
NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers) states it is fully committed to pursuing fair and equitable conditions of service for LGBT teachers, and also committed to campaigning for the illumination of homophobic bullying in schools and society.
NASUWT produced a booklet "Education & Equal Opportunities Tackling homophobic bullying - Policy, Advice, Support"
The booklet includes an introduction to homophobia, advice on creating a positive culture in schools, responsibilities of the employer, strategies and remedies and support for members.
2.7 Psychological Effects of Internalised Homophobia
Shidlo (1994) discusses internalised homophobia and its effects. He suggests that it is so widespread that many writers consider it as a normative developmental event during which almost all lesbians and gay men adopt negative attitudes towards homosexuality in their early developmental history (Forstein, 1988; Gonsiorek, 1988; Loulan, 1984; Malyon, 1982; Pharr, 1987; Sophie, 1988).
Malyon (1982) suggests that negative attitudes are incorporated into one's self-image causing fragmentation of sexual and affectional facets which interfere with the developmental process. Various models of lesbian and gay identity development consider the process of coming out as including neutralisation of internalised homophobia with the consequent adoption of a positive and integrated lesbian or gay identity (Cass, 1979; Stein Cohen, 1984; Troiden, 1979).
Shidlo (1994) notes that due to lack of research it is not known, a) what percentage of lesbian and gay teens hold internalised homophobia, b) how prevalence rates change through the years as teens enter adulthood, c) how consistent levels of internalised homophobia are throughout adulthood in any given individual, d) what gender and ethnic differences might exist (and class, rural v urban), and e) what generational differences might exist as a result of the dramatic cultural and social changes that have occurred in the post-Stonewall era of the gay community (likewise in Britain in the post-section 28 era). Shidlo adds other factors such as the level of homophobia held by parental figures and significant others (Nungesser, 1983) as well as personalogical variables such as special vulnerabilities, needs and defensive strategies of each individual (Malyon, 1982). (These would include, for example, use of alcohol/drugs which would stop the user developing a positive lesbian/gay identity).
Malyon (1982) hypothesised that internalised homophobia causes depression, influences identity formation, self-esteem, the elaboration of defenses, patterns of cognition, psychological integrity, object relations, and superego functioning. Pathogenic effects of internalised homophobia (usually temporary) are viewed as suppression of homosexual feelings, an elaboration of a heterosexual persona and an interruption of the process of identity formation.
Shidlo (1994) identifies other effects of internalised homophobia: distrust and loneliness (Finnegan & Cook, 1984), difficulties in intimate/affectional relationships (Friedman, 1991; George & Behrendt, 1988), under- and over-achievement (Gonsiorek, 1988; Pharr, 1988), impaired sexual functioning (Brown, 1986; Reece, 1988), unsafe sex (Shidlo, 1992), domestic violence (Pharr, 1988), avoidant coping with AIDS in HIV seropositive gay men (Nicholson & Long, 1990), alcoholism (Finnegan & Cook, 1984), substance abuse (Glause, 1988), eating disorders (Brown, 1987), fragmentation and borderline-like features (Gonsiorek, 1982; Malyon, 1982), and suicide (Rofes, 1983).
Internalised homophobia can have a tremendous impact on self-esteem and cause significant psychological distress. Gonsiorek and Rudolph (1991) describe disturbances ranging from mild self-doubt when confronted with prejudice to over self-hatred and self destructive behaviour (Hancock, 2000).
Shidlo (1994) emphases that as internalised homophobia may be an important determinant of psychopathological conditions in lesbians and gay men, psychotherapy with this population should routinely include the assessment and treatment of internalised homophobia (Gonsiorek, 1982; Malyon, 1982; Stein & Cohn, 1984).
There is also unconscious as well as conscious internalised homophobia (Brown, 1986; Friedman, 1991; Gonsiorek, 1988; Loulan, 1984; Malyon, 1982; Margolies, Becker & Jackson-Brewer, 1987). Indeed, Margolies et al (1987) list a series of defence mechanisms that include: rationalisation, denial, projection and identification with the aggressor. Other unconscious features include internalisation of distorted images of lesbian sexuality as deviant or as overidealised (Brown, 1986; Loulan, 1984); tolerance of discriminatory or abusive treatment from others; sabotaging of career goals by blaming external bigotry (Gonsiorek, 1988); a sensed lack of entitlement to give and receive love; irrational efforts to undermine intimate relationships; and the projection of the devalued self-image to one's partner (Friedman, 1991).
Discussing the need for psychotherapists to assess internalised homophobia, Hancock (2000) suggests manifestations range from the obvious such as total denial of one’s homosexual or bisexual orientation, contempt for more obvious LGB people, acting upon same-sex feelings but not taking responsibility for them, compartmentalisation of homoerotic feelings, fear and withdrawal from relatives and friends and suicide attempts to less obvious behaviours such as minimising contact with LGB people, efforts to try and ‘pass’ or not be mistaken for an LGB person in manner or appearance.
Chapter 3: Methodology
3.1 Task Group
The Homophobic Hate Crime Task Group core membership includes: Jan Bridget, GALYIC; Peter Stocks, Halifax Area Gay Group; Tracey Booker, Calderdale Probation Service; Javier Santana-Acosta, MSM. Towards the end of the project Lee Smith, GALYIC, and Peter Smith, Lesbian and Gay Health Task Group, also attended meetings.
Other agencies were identified and invited to send a representative: Helen Avison, Calderdale Victim Support; Peter Brown, Kirklees Victim Support; Ann Kendal, Youth Offending Team (Ann also reported back to the Domestic Violence project); Rachel Pickering and Imtias Ahmed, Calderdale Community Safety Partnership; Inspector Martin Sykes, Calderdale Police; Frankie Froggat, West Yorkshire Police. Each agency has attended at least one meeting and described their work to the Task Group. They all receive copies of the minutes, as does P.C. Peter Stone, Community Liaison Officer and Steve Mason (chairperson) West Yorkshire LGBT Police Liaison Initiative.
Terms of reference for the Task Group and an Action Plan were agreed at the first meeting. The lead person was Jan Bridget. The Task Group agreed a job description for the researcher and appointed Paula Atherill. Paula was a volunteer at GALYIC; she is a PhD student (about to qualify) with relevant research experience. Paula attended all of the Task Group meetings. Jan Bridget, who has previous experience of conducting research into LGB issues, supervised her.
The Task Group adapted a questionnaire designed by Peter Brown for his survey in Kirklees. As well as demographical information, the questionnaire included sections on: General experience of crime; experience of homophobic hate crime; reporting homophobic hate crimes/incidents to the police; changing behaviour; domestic violence; support. A list of local and national support agencies was attached to the questionnaire for participants to tear off and keep. Participants were invited to attend Calderdale Lesbian and Gay Pride where the findings were to be shared.
The questionnaire was aimed at people who lived, worked or played in Calderdale and who identified as LGB, or are in (or have been in) a same-sex relationship, or sometimes enjoy sexual activity with members of the same sex, or have been the victim of homophobic hate crime because someone presumed or knew them to be LGB.
Calderdale Probation Service produced 250 photocopies of the questionnaire. The Task Group distributed the questionnaire, together with a stamped, addressed envelope, via relevant local venues, organisations and personal networks. All two hundred and fifty questionnaires were distributed this way. Information about the survey was also published in the regional LGB magazine, Shout and a local lesbian newsletter. A one-month deadline was set for return of questionnaires.
Originally it was intended to conduct five interviews. However, because of the success of the quantitative survey, which included many comments and an extensive letter received from a transperson, the Task Group decided that two interviews would be sufficient, one female, one male. Interviews were conducted by the researcher, tape-recorded and transcribed onto computer.
3.5 Literature Review
A search was carried out on the internet by the researcher and relevant documents from the Lesbian Information Service library were utilised to produce a literature review. This included international, national, regional and local research data and projects.
Completed questionnaires were collected from the GALYIC P.O. Box and the researcher transferred the data onto computer.
Analysis of the quantitative data was conducted using the statistical package: SPSS. Findings have been presented using a series of bar charts, percentages and summary statistics.
The discussion section was jointly produced by Paula Atherill and Jan Bridget.
The Task Group liaised with the Lesbian and Gay Health Action Group who organised the first ever Calderdale Pride in the Square Chapel, Halifax. The findings of the survey were shared with participants in the Homophobic Hate Crime Workshop who were also invited to join the Task Group. A press release was sent out to local and LGB media.
A seminar will be held at Halifax Town Hall on Tuesday, 11th December 2001. This is directed at relevant agencies in Calderdale.
Twenty copies of the extensive final report will be distributed to the main, relevant, agencies; a copy will be lodged with Halifax Central Library. The Report will also be available via the Lesbian Information Service web site: www.lesbianinformationservice.org. Copies of the Executive Summary and Recommendations will be distributed more widely.
The project will be evaluated by the Task Group and a report sent to the funders.
Chapter 4: Findings
Homophobic Hate Crime is defined by the Police as any incident perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by the offender's prejudice towards a lesbian or gay man.
The questionnaire response was very encouraging. During approximately one month (June 2001) 49 LGB’s completed a questionnaire, 86% of whom were living in Calderdale.
Two interviews were conducted, with a 53 year old woman who had experienced many repeated attacks, and with a 20 year old man who had recently experienced physical assault as well as repeated verbal abuse on previous occasions, mainly at school. These will be referred to as interview 1 and interview 2.
These interviews provided valuable input into this research. In-depth accounts were given on homophobic incidents, which were experienced. It was evident from the interviews, the kind of effects one or more homophobic attacks can have on the victim, their confidence and future way of life. Repeated abuse can have a long lasting effect on the victim. Several quotes are included from these interviews throughout this chapter. Full accounts of specific incidents have been included in the appendices and will be referred to when relevant.
We also received a letter from a bisexual transsexual. This letter provided an extra viewpoint to this research. The letter was quite in-depth and explained a series of attacks over a long period of time.
This survey examines abuse as a direct result of a person’s sexuality, (or presumed sexuality) rather than as a result of their gender (or gender role). It was difficult to decipher the homophobic abuse from the gender abuse, which this person had received. But one important point which arose was; as a transperson the kind of abuse due to their gender follows a very similar pattern to that experienced as a homosexual or bisexual.
We must recognise this and acknowledge it, since this is a group of people who are also experiencing hate abuse. We would need to conduct further research to be able to comment on the levels of this abuse.
The letter was very useful in providing this perspective. It also highlights multi-oppression, due to sexuality and gender.
The following sections provide the demographic details of the sample, socialising habits, the level of HHC across Calderdale, reporting of HHC’s, changing behaviour, support following HHC’s and the level of domestic violence in same sex relationships.
Two thirds of respondents were female and one third were male. 33 women compared with 16 men.
Respondents range from 14 years of age to 67 years of age; with a mean age amongst women of 39, and 44 amongst men.
Almost 50% of women were between 35 and 44 years old. 19% of men were between these ages. Almost a third of men were over 54 years old compared with 3% of women. Similar levels were observed between men and women in the remaining categories.
59% (29) described themselves as lesbians, 8% (4) women described themselves as bisexual. 31% (15) described themselves as gay (all men), 1 man described himself as bisexual.
Level of openness about sexuality
Respondents were asked how open they were about their sexuality. 85% of women said ‘most’ or ‘everyone’ knows about their sexuality, compared with 62% of men. This suggests that the visibility of lesbians is higher in Calderdale.
Ethnicity / Disability
96% of respondents were white. 2 respondents said their ethnic identity was something other than; Asian, Black or White. One of which described themselves as English/Jamaican, the remaining person did not state.
4% (2) of the respondents were disabled.
Areas of Residence
86% (42) of respondents lived in Calderdale. The remaining 14% (7) can be explained as: 4 respondents living in Huddersfield, 1 in Blackburn, 1 in Leeds and 1 in Surrey. Highest representation from Todmorden (33%), followed by Halifax (27%), and Hebden Bridge (16%).
Respondents were asked to describe their living arrangements. One third of women compared with half of the men in the sample lived alone. Almost a third of males and females lived with their partners. 28% (9) women lived with their family compared with 13% (2) of men. 1 young man lived in care and the remaining 9% of women lived with friends.
79% (26) of women compared with 44% (7) of men were working. Almost one third (5) of men were retired compared with 3% (1) of women. 1 woman was volunteering and 1 man was unemployed. Similar levels of men and women were in education. 5 were retired and 1 was unemployed, (1 man who is retired works part time and was therefore classed as a worker). This question was therefore applicable to 43 of the respondents, although 5 people did not respond to the question.
Over 40% of women worked/went to college etc. outside Calderdale compared with 19% of men. 29% of women compared with over half of the men worked/went to college etc. in Halifax. Other areas where respondents worked included: Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds, Rochdale, Rossendale, Wakefield, Manchester, Salford, Ripon, London and Bristol.
Respondents were asked whether they socialised mainly on the scene. Very similar levels were observed for both men and women. A quarter of men and just over a quarter of women said they did mainly socialise on the scene.
Respondents were then asked to consider the following areas for socialising and to rank them according to their first, second and third most popular choice:
Halifax, Hebden Bridge, elsewhere in Calderdale (asked to state where), Leeds, Huddersfield, Bradford, Manchester and elsewhere not in Calderdale (asked to state where).
29% socialise in Hebden Bridge, 21% in Halifax and 15% in Todmorden. 5 people stated they socialise in places other than those specified, 2 stated Elland the other 3 did not say. We need to remember missing values may represent people who decide not to socialise.
For their second choice: 23% socialise in Hebden Bridge, 19% in Halifax, 18% in Manchester, 12% in Bradford, and 12% in Todmorden. People are tending to go outside of Calderdale for their second choice.
Almost all those who socialise in more than two areas regularly, say as a third choice they would go outside of Calderdale (89%). Manchester being the most popular choice.
Most respondents seem to prefer socialising close to home as their first or second choice, rather than going further a field to areas such as Manchester and Leeds.
4.3 Homophobic Hate Crime
Level of abuse
69% (34) of respondents have been a victim of at least one homophobic incident at some point in their lives. 55% (27) have been a victim within the last five years. The findings present a large difference in incidents experienced between men and women. 20% more women have experienced at least one incident at some point in their lives.
This difference is even greater when we observe the levels of experience over the last five years. Experience amongst women (70%) is almost three times the amount of that amongst men (25%).
76% of women (25 out of 33) compared with 56% of men (9 out of 16) : 70% of women (23 out of 33) compared with 25% of men (4 out of 16).
Over the last five years: 60% (20) of women have experienced more than one incident compared with 12% (2) of men. 15% (5) of women have experienced more than 10 incidents, no men reported experiencing more than 10 incidents.
What we are finding is a likelihood of repeated attack on LGB’s rather than a one off attack especially with incidents of verbal abuse. Repeat attacks have been noted in several studies, including Alexander 1996 and Brown 2000.
These repeated attacks can have a psychological effect on the victim. Sometimes the victim can reach the stage of almost expecting abuse to happen. This reflects in the following comment from interview 1.
I’ve experienced homophobia all through my life, when you’re aware at that level, it’s there all the time, you’re always expecting it, because it’s always been there for as long as I can remember, there’s always been this threat of somebody shouting something at me or saying something to me. I’ve just been aware of it all of my life and sometimes it’s more pronounced.
I’m sure there are lots and lots that I’ve not recalled because it’s happened so regularly. Not with my family but certainly with neighbours, at work, in my social life but generally in my day to day existence – like walking through town when you’re not particularly doing anything. I guess I’ve experienced quite a lot. F(53)
Experience Over 5 years ago
Respondents were asked whether they had experienced any homophobic incidents over 5 years ago. The question did not apply to 26% (9) of the respondents experiencing HHC at some point in their lives. They may not have identified as being lesbian, gay or bisexual during this time.
Of those remaining (40, applicable respondents, 25 women, 15 men) 45% had experienced at least one homophobic incident. 44% (11) of women compared with 47% (7) of men.
37% of respondents had experienced more than one incident.
This finding needs to be read with caution since respondents may have misinterpreted the question. Respondents were given the option of answering the question with ‘does not apply’, but most may have chosen ‘no’. Example comments from respondents describing an incident, which took place over five years ago include:
Yes I experienced incidents at school, ongoing things, name calling mainly. M(20)
Verbal abuse experienced on street in Todmorden.
Some youths chanted "gay gay" "are you queer" as I walked past them. M(58)
Physical assault experienced over five years ago whilst socialising on the scene.
As we were coming out of a lesbian event, we were attacked by members of a wedding party, one woman who was with us was knocked out. F(42)
Please see A1.1 appendix 1, for a full account of an incident experienced in 1986, taken from interview 1.
Type of incident experienced
Respondents were asked which of the following incidents they had experienced over the last 5 years:
No women or men reported having experienced; blackmail, arson, or rape/sexual assault.
There is a striking difference between the number of incidents experienced by men and women. The only comparable incidents, in terms of number of incidents experienced are harassment and physical assault.
Women have experienced higher levels (more than double in three out of four of the following types of incident) of verbal abuse, threats/intimidation, harassment and damage to property/car/possessions.
One man reported an incident of theft as a result of his sexuality. Slightly more men had experienced physical assault than women. Otherwise the levels are clearly far worse amongst women in Calderdale.
Repeated verbal abuse, taken from interview 1.
Verbal abuse – all the time, too often I would say at least once a month I’ll have something shouted, dyke or some of the incidents have been worse than others. There was the incident in London where two guys said as they were walking past my partner and I ‘you lesbians just need a good fucking’. F(53)
Last incident which had an impact
Respondents were asked to tick one of the 9 incidents (given previously) that best described the last homophobic incident they experienced, which they felt had an impact on them.
The numbers are too low at this stage to split the findings by gender. Although we can split experience of verbal abuse (1) by gender, which was by far the most common incident. Followed by damage to property (5), and physical assault (4).
Therefore, of those who had experienced a homophobic incident: 60% of women and 33% of men reported that the last homophobic incident they experienced was name calling/verbal abuse.
3 respondents defined the most recent incident as; verbal abuse and threats/intimidation (1,2). 1 respondent defined the most recent incident as; verbal abuse, threats/intimidation, harassment, and damage to property/possessions (1,2,3,5).
Respondents were asked to briefly describe the most recent incident they had experienced. Several incidents included more than one definition, summarised below.
Verbal abuse and physical assault experienced within last year, on street in Hebden Bridge. Taken from interview 2. For the full account of this incident refer to A1.2 appendix 1.
Name calling followed by physical assault.These lads went for the friend of mine- the person they knew, and he ended up really bad, I tried phoning the police from my mobile so they went for me, soon as they saw I’d got my mobile out they went for me. Hit me in the face, smashed my glasses. M(20)
Verbal abuse experienced over the last year, whilst at work. A school in Halifax.
More a series of verbal abuse on an almost daily basis at work (a school) from pupils aged 14-16. Have been off ‘sick’ for 7 months after it all got too much. F(44)
Verbal abuse experienced within last month, on street in Todmorden.
People (young men) driving past, calling out derogatory remarks regarding sexuality. F(39)
Verbal abuse experienced within last five years, on street while socialising, non-scene.
Two youngsters shouted after me & partner, calling us lesbians, disgusting, it shouldn’t be allowed. It persisted until we disappeared out of sight. F(50)
Verbal abuse and damage to property experienced within the last month, at home in Todmorden.
A neighbour’s teenage son and friends ripped our iron gate from its hinges & threw it into the garden. Having just a couple of days previously called my partner a ‘lesbian’. F(23)
Verbal abuse and physical assault experienced within last year on street in Hebden Bridge.
First I experienced name calling, and then cans were thrown at my head. M(40)
Verbal abuse, threats and attempted physical assault experienced within the last week, on street in Halifax.
I was physically threatened by someone's boyfriend, I ended up hitting the girl in defence. F(14)
Verbal abuse experienced within the last year at school in Halifax.
I often experience name calling by other kids at school, things like "lezzie", "lesbian". F(14)
Verbal abuse, threats/intimidation, harassment and damage to property experienced within the last year, on the street in Hebden Bridge. (5)
Gangs of youths outside the Spar shop shouting homophobic abuse and following us to a wine bar and then spitting at us as we were going down the stairs. F(48)
These provide just a selection of the comments given during interviews and on the questionnaires. Further comments and transcript sections can be seen in appendix 1, A1.2.
The comments that have been selected provide a range of incidents and locations, at home, at school (bullying), on street and at work. All incidents included abovetook place in Calderdale and within the last five years.
Although there were only 3 respondents under the age of 16, bullying has presented itself, as it has in a lot of the previous research. For example Bridget 1999, Mason & Palmer 1996, and Duncan 1999.
A large proportion of the events took place on the street by strangers, this is summarised on the following page.When asked how long ago the event happened, 82% (28) said the incident had happened within the last five years. 56% (19) within the last year.
61% (21) of the most recent incidents took place on the street, not when out on the scene but general day-to-day walking around. 18% (6) of incidents took place at home, but these were assumed to be by, either family members or neighbours since respondents were questioned independently about domestic.
Just over a quarter occuring in Todmorden and just under a quarter in Hebden Bridge. This may suggest high levels of intolerance in these areas, but we have to bear in mind the number of respondents living in these areas, which would increase the likelihood of incidents in those areas. Simply because these people spend a lot of time there. Also the tendency to socialise closer to home.
We should relate this finding back to socialising, which suggested respondents prefer to socialise closer to home, particularly in Todmorden and Hebden Bridge. Contrary to the fact that there appears to be higher levels of homophobic abuse experienced in these areas.
During interview 1, the following statement was made in reference to the location of incidents experienced.
Not so much in Todmorden, but in Hebden a lot, and it’s usually young lads shouting verbal abuse. I came across about 6 lads kicking a pigeon, kicking it around and I said, what are you doing that for? And they said ‘mind your own business you fucking dyke’. Usually fucking dyke.
I said, there’s a police station round the corner if you don’t stop what your doing I'll tell the police. That actually stopped them, I think they were surprised that I’d said that. F(53)
In addition to experiencing homophobic incidents themselves, respondents were also asked whether they had witnessed any homophobic incidents involving other people. Figure 4.21 shows 69% (24) of respondents have witnessed at least one incident. 48% (18) have witnessed more than 2 incidents.
82% (29) of respondents had never reported an incident to the police. The remaining 18% accounted for 4 women and 2 men who had reported at least one incident.
4 out of the 6 respondents, who had reported an incident, reported the most recent attack, which they encountered.
The respondents were then asked to rate the initial response from the police and the overall treatment from the police.
Initial treatment: 1 respondent said they thought the service was very poor, 1 thought the service was poor, 1 thought it was just ok and 2 people thought the service was good.
Overall treatment: 1 person thought the service was very poor, 3 thought it was okay and 1 person thought it was good.
A quote taken from interview 2: The young man had phoned the police after a physical attack and told them the attack was homophobic.
When I told the police that it was homophobic they said:
… Well that makes it a more serious crime, it’s a hate crime now, not just a beating for nothing…
They were better about it in that respect, although saying that there was no follow-up at all to the attack, they still haven’t found the attackers. M(20)
A quote taken from interview 1.
I’ve tried to report incidents in the past and I was disappointed then. I am generally uncomfortable with the police in Calderdale and their response to homophobic crimes. F(53)
Respondents were asked why they hadn’t reported any incidents to the police, responses included:
Because they did nothing on previous occasions F(43)
Because the perpetrator was a man I’d met in a ‘cottage’ M(44)
I feel more comfortable approaching neighbours, parents etc before taking things to the police. F(23)
One important fact we need to consider with reporting incidents to the police, is that a lot of incidents may not be perceived as serious enough to involve the police, or may not be perceived as a crime.
Several respondents mentioned this:
It’s not classed as an offence so it’s not the kind of thing you can report is it, I mean – how do you report a man in his car shaking his head at you. But then why should we have to tolerate it? F(53)
The police would not regard it as a 'crime' F (44)
The crime wasn’t serious enough, or maybe it wouldn’t even be classed as a crime. It is difficult to decide whether a given incident is actually a crime that the police would respond to. So most of the time we decide it isn’t. F(25)
It depends on the extent of incident, name calling, harassment etc. are difficult to report, I’m aware of limited police resources. Incidents such as property damage, are easier to be taken seriously. F (39)
Interestingly, when we asked if respondents would consider reporting an incident in the future most were positive. (30 women 9 men responded).
40% of women compared with 67% of men said they would report an incident in the future. 57% of women compared with 22% of men would consider reporting in the future. Only 2 respondents (1 woman 1 man) said they would not report in the future. We need to treat these percentages with caution since only 9 men responded.
Comments from those who would not report in the future included:
At this point in time I don’t think I actually would report an incident in the future. Because there is no system that stands at the moment that I have confidence in, I don’t have confidence in the police, that they would actually do something about it. F(53)
Fear of people finding out I'm gay M(19)
Some comments from those who said they would report in the future included:
Taken from interview 2.
Yes I would report in the future, I wouldn’t just not report it because people say it doesn’t happen and if people don’t report it nobody knows about it, there’s no chance of them getting caught if it’s not reported, but then there’s no chance of them getting caught half the time if you do tell them but you have to try don’t you. M(20)
If the nature of the incident was serious enough. T(38)
This survey has made me feel that I should. F(38)
Homophobic hate crime needs to be acknowledged so that it can be taken seriously and controlled in the same way as race crime has been taken seriously. F(25)
If it was something I couldn't deal with myself & I thought the police would. F (44)
I believe reporting of any crime is important to create accurate statistics and better, more appropriate resourcing/crime prevention, including specific hate crime projects. Like most abuse, it’s probably badly under-reported. F (39)
Because gay people have (or should have) equal right to protection by UK law. M(37)
The police can't do anything if not reported, and it raises the awareness of frequency of crimes. M(20)
Some comments from those who said they might report in the future included:
Don't think they take it seriously and I don't trust that the police themselves are not homophobic. I fear that the experience of dealing with the police would be abusive. F(48)
I would if I thought the situation could escalate. F(42)
Depending on the seriousness of the crime I wouldn’t bother reporting verbal abuse because I don’t feel confident that the police would take me seriously. F(24)
If it was serious damage to my property – house/car. Or if I was seriously threatened, intimidated close to or at home by someone. Or if I was physically hurt. F(33)
Further comments on reporting in the future can be seen in section A1.3, appendix 1.
Importance of future reporting
Regardless of whether or not respondents said they would report an incident in the future, almost all (92%) think it is important to report homophobic incidents.
We then asked respondents why they felt it was important to report homophobic incidents. Several respondents indicated that we should refer to the previous question, (i.e. quotes given above from those who responded ‘yes’ to reporting incidents).
Those who responded with ‘maybe’ to reporting homophobic incidents in the future, included comments such as:
It’s important that the police have a record of homophobic crimes so they treat it seriously. F(48)
Something could be done about it if more people reported. F(23)
If more are reported maybe the police will start to take the gay community seriously. F(24)
To raise awareness that homophobic crime exists and needs to be taken seriously with resources put into the community to protect LGB’s and also train homophobic officers. F(33)
Responding ‘yes’ to reporting homophobic incidents in the future:
So that, 1) they can keep track of incidence of crimes of this nature, and 2) to gain their help in tackling the ‘abusers’ and for advice and support. F(67)
Responding ‘no’ to reporting homophobic incidents in the future, taken from interview 1.
Of course it’s important to report, because police in society need to challenge their homophobia and they need to understand the effects of homophobia on peoples' lives. It is important that society understands the level of homophobia. If we’ve not got the evidence then people can just trample all over it. We need to have the evidence to show, the only way we are going to get the evidence is by people reporting it. F(53) Responded ‘no’ to reporting incidents in the future, at the moment.
Many more valuable comments were included, these can be seen in section A1.3, appendix 1
Respondents were offered seven strategies, which could be undertaken by the police with the aim of making the service more accessible to LGB’s. They were asked to choose three strategies and rank them, 1 to 3 according to preferred choice. The seven strategies were as follows:
The majority of respondents areinterested in the development of police anti-homophobia policies (1) and specialist gay, lesbian community/community officers (2).
The two previous strategies tend to alternate for second choice, suggesting those who didn’t choose strategy 1 for their first choice chose it for their second and vice versa.
Also a fair amount of interest in police-lesbian, gay, bisexual community forum (3). Only one person thought no special arrangements were necessary.
Some respondents offered further suggestions, these included:
As a first choice one respondent stated:
A belief that the police would take the incident seriously. F(44)
As a second choice one respondent stated:
Police involvement to show they are prepared to support us. F(53)
As a third choice one respondent stated:
Encouragement in the press, advertisements including LGB’s. F(25)
Include homophobic awareness in police training. F(48)
Much tougher laws and sentencing for hate/homophobic crime – much of which is motiveless. M(37)
Comments from interview 1 included:
The development of police anti-homophobia policies would be number one, but you see none of these ....unless and until the police in Calderdale actually start talking to lesbians and gays and they work along side us to develop different policies. To develop the procedures and to involve us in their training…
…What we need is for the police to be involved, to come along to the meetings to show that they do actually care, that they do want to challenge the homophobia. In order to do that we need to get LGB’s from Calderdale involved with the training – get them to see that the police are actually supportive, and once the police have gone through the training we need to let the LGB communities know that they are supportive. F(53)
There’s going to be so much work to be done on both sides, not just getting the police to challenge their homophobia and get systems that work but also to get organisations where you can set up a third party, where you can set up systems that people trust. The third most important element is to let LGB’s know that a) in the first incidence that they can report it and they should report it b) that they’ll actually get a supportive response. Might encourage you to report incidents in the future. F(53)
Reporting other Crimes
Respondents were asked if they had any fears about reporting other non-homophobic crimes to the police.
85% said they had no fears. Those remaining (6 respondents out of 40), were asked why they had fears about reporting non homophobic crimes, response included:
One respondent who had never reported a homophobic crime, but did think it was important to report homophobic incidents said:
A previous crime I reported was not acted upon - felt vulnerable & ignored. F(49)
Two respondents who had never reported a homophobic crime, but did think it was important to report homophobic incidents and said they would do in the future said:
A fear of not being taken seriously. F(38)
I’ve reported crime against me in the past, and the police dismissed it, I didn’t feel heard, although I told them I was terrified. F(50)
One respondent who had never reported a homophobic crime, but did think it was important to report homophobic incidents and said she may report in the future said:
Not comfortable with police and how they feel about lesbians, race etc. F(39)
Other comments included:
Possibility of leaked info & thus revenge. M(37)
Retribution by the offenders. F(39)
In summary; most respondents think that the severity of the crime is a significant factor when reporting homophobic incidents to the police, and tended to answer ‘maybe’ to reporting incidents in the future.
Others think that it is important to raise the profile of HHC so we should report incidents regardless of their severity, and answered ‘yes’ to reporting incidents in the future.
The impression gained from this survey is that LGB’s in Calderdale do not have a lot faith in the police system as it stands.
Previous research has also highlighted the need for specific strategies, which would encourage the reporting of HHC’s. Among several other outcomes; Diversity Alliance (Brighton & Hove 1998), suggested the following for young people:
The creation of an effective homophobic violence and harassment reporting mechanism for young people common to all local agencies working with young people.
Jackson (FUSION 2000) said from the response of the questionnaire: that a lesbian or gay officer would encourage reporting rates and sending ‘self reporting forms’ to a specialist hate crime unit.
OXAIDS (Oxford 1997) found: 20% felt relations between police and local LGB’s were poor or very bad, 47% said they would not be happy contacting police about an incident and 67% said they would have felt happier reporting the incident to an LGB organisation.
West Yorkshire Police – action on HHC
Tracy Booker (trainee probation officer and a member of the HHCTG) gave a presentation to other members of the HHCTG, which she had produced as part of her probation training.
The aim of the presentation was to raise awareness of the Criminal Justice response to HHC. Information about HHC was gathered from a number of sources. One of these included West Yorkshire Police. The following, very useful information was provided.
Calderdale division comprises: Todmorden, Hebden Bridge, Sowerby Bridge, Elland, Brighouse and Halifax. Over the last 12 months only 12 homophobic hate crimes had been reported, (April 2000 - April 2001). This figure compared with over 100 race motivated crimes, which had been reported during the same year.
Mick Hanks (the Community Liaison officer in charge of hate crimes and community liaison) discussed the problems of finding a true picture of HHC’s in this area:
Lesbian and gay people do not report crimes for specific reasons.
Reported crime may be homophobically related but unless the police are told of this the crimes are reported the same as any other, therefore figures are not representative.
There is no specific offence of homophobic hate crime as there is racially aggravated crimes therefore again the homophobic slant is not picked up.
There has been an attempt to make the Brunswick Centre a third party reporting centre for homophobic hate crimes but again none were reported.
The LGB community are not a geographically defined ‘community’ in Calderdale, therefore gathering information and liaising with this ‘community’ is more difficult than others.
Mick Hanks also stated that he is aware of the difficulties for LGB’s to report crimes that are homophobically related and wants to find the best way to enable LGB’s to feel comfortable to do this and is willing to work with the LGB community to do so. He has a remit under the Crime and Disorder Act (1998) to do this. Booker 2001
Further comments from Booker included:
I believe as a group involved in this research that closer ties with the police should be created and both the police and the community should give consideration to the problems experienced. We have a responsibility to encourage other lesbian and gay people to attend meetings and to give our opinions and have our say.
4.5 Changing Behaviour
Often LGB’s deliberately change their behaviour to prevent abuse or dicomfort from people around them. We asked which of the following (if any) respondents tended to do to protect themselves from potential homophobic abuse. The following behaviours were presented:
Total 49 respondents. Of the behaviours above respondents were asked to make comments following behaviours 6, 7 and 10.
Few respondents feel comfortable holding hands or kissing in public (1), 70% said they avoid doing this. Similarly, 60% avoid other expressions of affection (2). 41% hiding their sexual identity in some way when in public.
45% avoid telling people they are LGB, possibly friends, family or work colleagues. Only 2 respondents said they avoid using public transport (5) in the event of homophobic abuse.
27% said they avoided going to certain places (6), comments included:
Certain straight bars. F(23)
Halifax on an evening. F(39)
Hebden Bridge pubs. M(19)
Halifax at night, some Hebden Bridge pubs. F(44)
Manchester/Todmorden town centres, some pubs and bars. M(37)
Night clubs and pubs. F(30)
No particular place, just those that look unsafe/feel unsafe because of who frequents them, e.g. traditional straight male pubs etc. F(33)
Straight clubs. F(43)
Straight places. M(28)
Straight pubs/clubs. F(38)
Todmorden town centre at night. F(48)
10% said they avoided going out at certain times (7), comments included:
Evening/night time when there are a lot of straight youths around. M(37)
Friday and Saturday nights locally (Hebden/Tod). F(38)
Friday/Saturday night. M(19)
Todmorden town centre at night. F(48)
Other behaviours which respondents included were:
Be discrete. M(64)
Avoid disclosure to neighbours, so behaviour constrained in home, garden etc. F(39)
Don’t go to ‘straight’ pubs. F(48)
Hide behaviour from family. F(27)
Taken from interview 1:
I find it difficult to be out with my sexuality, being affectionate in public, my partner finds it much easier and I think that’s because she is younger, but I am getting better, I’m finding it easier as time goes on. F(53)
Respondents were asked the following question:
"The last time you were a victim of a non-homophobic crime, did you seek support?"
76% of women said yes compared with 50% of men. Total applicable response 37, (not all respondents had experienced a non-homophobic crime).
Total response 37, 68% (25) sought support
Respondents were asked to say whether they had sought support from the following: Partner, friends, family, a professional, LGB organisation, a Victim Support worker, or any other. 25 out of 37 responded.
68% (25) sought support. Two thirds of those (17) respondents sought help from more than one source.
Half of the respondents sought help from at least friends. 35% from their partner, although we have to consider respondents may not have been in a relationship at the time of the incident.
Just under a quarter sought help from their family, 22% from a professional, only 1 sought help from Victim Support.
One respondent said they sought help from neighbours and one from their insurance company, 2 others said they sought help from the police.
All respondents said that they found the support was useful.
When respondents were asked whether the sought support for the last homophobic crime they experienced, 33 out of 34 responded. (24/25 females, 9/9 males).
67% of women sought help compared with 76% of women who sought help for the last non-homophobic crime. 33% of men sought help compared with 50% of men who sought help for the last non-homophobic incident. Total response 33, 58% (19) sought support
Again respondents were asked to say who or where they had sought support. All 33 responded.
58% (19) sought support. 58% of those (11) respondents sought help from more than one source.
Just under half of the respondents sought help from at least friends. A third from their partner, (again remembering not all respondents were necessarily in a relationship at the time).
Interestingly only 1 respondent sought help from their family, 9% from a professional, no respondents sought help from Victim Support.
One respondent said they sought help from work, colleagues and management.
There is a huge difference in the level of help sought from family and professionals to that seen with non-homophobic crimes. 24% sought help from their family after the last non-homophobic crime compared with only 3% here. 22% sought help from a professional after the last non-homophobic crime compared with only 9% here.
When respondents were asked to state why they didn’t seek support the following comments were given:
People’s ignorance towards others. F(36)
I dealt with personally. F(49)
Didn't think it was worth it. F(24)
Sorted it out my self. F(14)
Wasn't serious enough. F(23)
Don't think I experienced criminal behaviour. F(27)
Preferred to handle it myself. F(23)
I was ok. M(44)
Didn't feel to need it. M(54)
Not worthy. M(28)
There was no evidence. F(50)
Didn't consider it warranted action. M(58)
84% (16) found the support useful, 11% (2) respondents said the support was of no use. 5% (1) did not say whether they found it useful or not.
Respondents were asked the following question:
"If you needed support following a homophobic incident in the future would you seek help from Victim Support?"
There were 44 respondents to the question. 21% (9) said yes they would; 61% (27) said maybe; and 18% (8) said no.
A selection of respondents who said they would not seek support from Victim Support in the future explained why:
Bit put off by the name 'victim' and assume won’t be aware of lesbian issues. F(39)
Don’t feel would be understanding/sympathetic/practical. F(49)
If not taken seriously or understood it would just make me feel worse. F(38)
I have no reason to believe they are not homophobic. F(53)
I wouldn't trust them not to be homophobic or inappropriate for my needs. F(33)
Because I’ve had a lot to do with them in the past in a professional capacity and don’t think I’d want to be supported by them. F(50)
They came across as patronising on a previous occasion. F(42)
Not sure how aware they are of homophobic issues. F(33)
A selection of respondents who said they might seek support from Victim Support in the future explained:
My previous experience with Victim Support left me feeling more anxious F(23)
It would depend on the incident, and if Victim Support was an appropriate avenue, e.g. at work. Also I’d have to be reassured that this agency had improved their understanding of the issue in connection to its homophobic bearings. F(43)
It depends on access to the service and the expectation of quality of support service. M(37)
My experience of Victim Support as an organisation, as a professional in a similar field, has not lead me to have confidence in them for any issue. I have a supportive friendship network and partner. F(43)
Depends on the extent of the crime. F(39)
There’s nothing that’d actually stop me from going to them, I don’t know of any reputation or anything, but then there’s nothing that would encourage me either. I knew it existed; I got the letter, you get a letter from the police automatically. M(20)
Respondents were asked the following:
"If you did seek support from a Victim Support scheme would you prefer to talk to:"
10% (4) said they’d be happy with a generally trained Victim Support worker; 48% (20) said they’d be happy with a worker with specific training around homophobic hate crime; 57% (24) said they’d be happy with a worker who is LGB; a further 29% (12) said they’d be happy with any of the workers mentioned.
We can extend the figures to include the 29% who would be happy with any service.
If Victim Support had a generally trained worker 38% of respondents would be happy. If they had a worker who had received specific training around HHC then 52% of respondents would be happy. But if they had a lesbian, gay or bisexual worker then 86% of respondents would be happy.
The remaining 14% who would not be satisfied with an LGB worker are those who would prefer only option 1 (1 person), those who would only prefer option 2 (3 people), and those who would prefer only option 1 or 2 (2 people). A total of 6 respondents would be dissatisfied.
4.7 Domestic Violence
The questionnaire also included a question on domestic violence. Domestic violence is not a direct part of this research, although it does indicate the need for further research.
Domestic violence is an apparent problem in mixed sex relationships, but it is a lot more hidden in same sex relationships and therefore more difficult for victims to access support.
The level of domestic violence indicated from this research clearly shows that violence within same sex relationships in no less than that in mixed sex relationships.
Almost one third of respondents have experienced domestic violence (30%). 47 people answered the question. (2 females left the question blank).
A much higher level of abuse is indicated amongst females (35%), than amongst males (19%).
11 out of 31 female respondents (35%); 3 out of 16 male respondents (19%)
All three males experienced abuse in a same-sex relationship. 8 females experienced abuse in a same-sex relationship, 2 in a mixed-sex relationship and 1 woman had experienced violence in both a mixed and same-sex relationship. (All of the latter three women defined themselves as lesbians not bisexuals).
Domestic violence is almost hidden in same sex relationships, not only is it difficult for victims to seek help because they are receiving abuse from their partner, it is also difficult because they have to consider the possibility of a homophobic response.
This research indicates that the LGB community in Calderdale are not happy with the police service and victim support and that the majority of LGB’s would seek help from friends if possible. It would be very difficult for a lesbian, gay man or bisexual man/woman to seek professional help if they were a victim of domestic violence.
Chapter 5: Discussion
In a report commissioned by the U.S. Department of Justice, Finn and McNeil (1987) define bias crimes or hate violence as "words or actions designed to intimidate an individual because of his or her race, religion, national origin, or sexual preference." They continued, "these types of offences are far more serious than comparable crimes that do not involve prejudice because they are intended to intimidate an entire group. The fear they generate can therefore victimise a whole class of people..."
As the literature review reveals, we are several years behind the USA with regard to research and provision of services. However, the research conducted in Britain has also found high levels of homophobic hate crime (HHC). For example, Mullen (1999) found that 65% of 314 respondents to his Berkshire survey had experienced verbal abuse (the same as the mean figure for thirteen studies in Britain between 1980-1997); 30% had experienced physical abuse (35% mean figure); 23% harassment (47% mean figure) and 26% sexual abuse (there are no national figures).
Homophobic hate crime is therefore a reality in Britain. This study is the first of its kind in Calderdale although a similar one was conducted a few months earlier in Kirklees.
The aim of the survey is to examine the levels of homophobic abuse in Calderdale by using a fairly small-scale questionnaire. The results in no way represent Britain as a whole and no controls were used. Neither do they represent a random sample of LGB people in Calderdale. However, the results can give us some idea of the levels of homophobic abuse in Calderdale and subsequently help towards the development of a Crime & Disorder Reduction Strategy, with regard to Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual communities in Calderdale.
This report is only an indication of the HHC in Calderdale. If there had been more money and time a different questionnaire could have been produced, possibly embedding HHC within a harassment questionnaire. To provide statistical evidence in time for the Crime and Disorder Audit meant that there was only a limited period in which to conduct the survey.
Nevertheless, response to the survey was very encouraging, with 49 LGB people completing and returning questionnaires in just over one month; a response rate of 20%, which is average. This compares with Brown's (2001) response rate for Kirklees (20.5%), which took several months. The Calderdale success is in part due to the collection methods but this also limited participation to LGB people who are in contact with groups or networks.
Eighty-six percent of respondents live in Calderdale in Todmorden (33%), Hebden Bridge (16%), Halifax (27%), Elland (12%) or Sowerby Bridge (12%). A large part of Calderdale is rural yet all of the respondents lived in small towns. This means that we were unable to access those who live in the more rural areas.
It is important to acknowledge that Calderdale is unusual in that there is a large, visible, lesbian 'community' in the Upper Valley (Hebden Bridge, Todmorden) made up of lesbians who have migrated to this area from other places, usually cities (Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, London). At the same time, gay men are largely invisible. This is reflected in the demographics of the respondents: two-thirds female, one-third male.
This is the reverse of the usual trend in most other mixed-gender surveys, as was the finding that more women were mostly out to everyone (85%) compared with 62% of men. On the other hand, more women (12%) than men (6%) identified as bisexual, which reflects the general trend. One transsexual took part in the survey.
It is crucial to make the distinction between those lesbian and bisexual women who have moved to Calderdale to live in a semi-rural area where there is a lesbian 'community' and those who are indigenous to the area. LGB people who live in the area they were brought up in, especially an area like Calderdale which is made up of small towns, tend not to be very out or visible (unless they are butch/sissy). They also tend to migrate to larger cities where there is more support, social outlets and they can be more anonymous.
Hunter et al (1998) discuss mediating factors against the development of mental health problems amongst LGB people. These include a sense of connection to the LGB community. This is absent in Calderdale apart from the loosely termed lesbian 'community' in the Upper Valley.
Pisarski & Gallois (1996) examined the extent to which a lesbian community in Australia could meet the needs of individual lesbians. Success was dependent on what those needs were, the prevailing social climate, and the resulting degree of access by lesbians to the community. The study examined lesbians' perceptions of their individual needs and the extent to which they looked to their community to meet those needs. Overall, the results indicated that they had many unmet needs, which in many instances, cut across the demographic spectrum of age, politics, stage of identity development, religious beliefs, occupation, and educational achievements. These can be broadly categorised as needs that related to the lesbian community itself and external needs that related to changes needed in heterosexual society. The results indicated that characteristics of community did exist within the Brisbane lesbian subculture. There were distinct, identifiable, interacting small groups and social networks in existence. However, a common need was for an identifiable, accessible, lesbian community that could provide stable, long-term services and cultural and social activities. In Brisbane lesbians also needed a focus that superseded the needs of individual lesbians and their small interacting social networks.
It is highly likely that the situation in the Upper Valley in Calderdale mirrors these findings and that the needs will be similar. However, in Halifax and other parts of Calderdale there is no lesbian or gay community. The only groups that exist are the Halifax Area Gay Group which has been running for twenty-five years and is a social group frequented primarily by older gay men; GALYIC (Gay and Lesbian Youth in Calderdale), which was set up in August 1999 but so far only has a small membership; and a relatively new and not yet established lesbian support group which meets monthly at the Well Women Centre.
Only two of the respondents identified as minority ethnic and they did not identify as either Asian, black or white. Being LGB is difficult enough in a place like Calderdale; being LGB and minority ethnic means that you are doubly oppressed and even more isolated. It would be very difficult for an LGB person who comes from the Asian community living in Calderdale to be visible because s/he would be at great risk of family rejection. Gross's (2000) study of discrimination and violence against lesbian women and gay men in Philadelphia found that African American gay men were three times more likely than white men to have been victimised and African American lesbians were two-and-a-half times as likely as white lesbians. These statistics reveal the importance of taking on board the reality of multi-oppression. However, they also link up hate crimes and a recent study by Stonewall (2001) found that those people who were homophobic were also more likely to be racist and sexist.
It is surprising that only two of the respondents identified as disabled. This should be treated with care as many people would not say that they were disabled unless they were either registered as disabled or had a physical disability such as being wheel chair bound. Many people with mental health problems do not identify as being disabled.
Most of the public buildings in Calderdale are inaccessible to wheel-chair users. This is partly because Calderdale MBC are only just beginning to tackle this problem but also because Calderdale is in the middle of the Pennines and many of the towns are in steep valleys. It is very difficult, for example, to find accessible office space in Todmorden or Hebden Bridge; the local architecture i.e. back-to-backs and over- and under-dwellings reflect the lack of building land.
Participants were mostly middle-aged upwards with significantly more retired gay men (one-third) than lesbians (one). The mean age of female participants was 36 whilst for men it was 44. No doubt this reflects the distribution methods i.e. via Halifax Area Gay Group and lesbian/gay venues in the Upper Valley. The majority of the women (79%) were working while only 44% of the men worked. A significant proportion of the women (41%) worked outside of Calderdale whilst only 18% of the men who were not retired worked outside of Calderdale; places worked in included Bradford, Huddersfield, Leeds and Manchester, all areas that are more advanced regarding equal opportunities than Calderdale with employees, perhaps, being less likely to experience homophobic abuse at work.
Fewer females (one-third) than males (half) lived alone. This is consistent with other surveys and possibly reflects the disparity between male and female income levels. Almost a third of both men and women live with their partners whilst 22% live with family, 6% with friends and one person lives in care. This is important when it comes to getting support when dealing with the effects of homophobic hate crime as most of the participants turn to their partners and friends for support.
Most of the participants prefer to socialise within Calderdale in either Hebden Bridge, Halifax or Todmorden. This is significant given that most of the homophobic hate incidents occurred in these places. Socialising outside of Calderdale was the third preferred choice for the majority of the participants, with Manchester being the most popular place.
Almost the same number of men (75%) as women (73%) said they did not socialise on the 'scene.' Traditionally older lesbians tend not to socialise on the ‘scene’ which, in any case, is usually geared towards gay men. There is no 'scene' as such in Calderdale, apart from the lesbian-owned and run wine bar in Hebden Bridge and cafe in Todmorden. These are open to everyone irrespective of sexual orientation. However, they are becoming known locally as lesbian/gay venues. There is a gay-friendly pub in Halifax and a fledgling gay 'scene' within some nightclubs on a Wednesday evening. Queer-bashing has often taken place outside or near gay venues. It will be interesting to see if the levels of homophobic hate crime rise in the vicinity of these venues as they become more visible in the future.
5.5 Homophobic Hate Crime
The majority of the respondents (69%) have experienced a homophobic incident at some point in their life, which compares with 66% in Brown's survey across Kirklees and is slightly higher than the national trend: Pinson & Ashton (2001) conducted the first ever national LGB survey with over 10,000 participants and found that half of the respondents had suffered homophobic abuse with name-calling being the most common.
More women than men in the Calderdale survey had suffered from a homophobic incident both recently and in the past: 76% of women had experienced at least one homophobic incident in their lives versus 56% of men. This was also found in Browns’ survey of Kirklees (72% of women versus 63% of men had experienced at least one incident). More women than men experienced all kinds of homophobic abuse: verbal (70% v 25%); threats/intimidation (30% v 12%), harassment (24% v 19%), damage to property (30% v 6%) with the exception of physical (9% v 12%) and theft (0% v 6%).
Mullen (1999) also found higher levels of verbal abuse amongst his female respondents (57%) compared with men (49%) but more men than women had been threatened (24% v 17%) and physically attacked (32% v 26%). The recent national survey (Pinson & Ashton, 2001) also found that gay men experienced more physical attacks.
When considering incidents which occurred over the last five years: 70% of women in the Calderdale study had experienced at least one incident versus only 25% of men; 60% of women have experienced more than one incident versus 12% of men; and 15% of women had experienced more than ten incidents; no men had experienced more than ten incidents.
Historically much more research has been conducted with gay men than lesbians on most issues, including homophobic hate crime. This has meant that more emphasis has been placed on the needs of gay men. Perhaps the findings of the recent national survey will challenge this. The Calderdale survey certainly does.
The most likely reason for the higher levels of abuse among women in Calderdale is that they are more out and visible than gay men. Many of the lesbians in the Upper Valley are particularly visible as they fit the stereotypical image of a lesbian (short hair, shirts/trousers). A significant minority also hold hands and show affection in public. However, not every LGB person will experience homophobic hate crime: it is those who are more out, fit the stereotypical image of a lesbian/gay man and are more public in their affections who are likely to be recipients of homophobic hate crime. Pinson & Ashton (2001) maintain that gay men who look gay are 50% more likely to be victims of homophobic attack.
None of the participants had experienced blackmail, arson, rape or sexual assault within a homophobic context. It is worth noting that the ACTION research found that three (two female, one male) of the 15 participants had been sexually abused whilst growing up and four (two female, two male) had been raped. Research suggests that LGB young people, because of their vulnerabilities, are more likely to be the victims of sexual abuse and rape. It is unlikely, however, that LGB people would interpret such abuse within the context of homophobia. It is also more likely that women see sexual abuse and rape as an effect of sexism and misogyny rather than homophobia.
Statistics can only give a small part of the picture; how the participants described their experiences enables the reader to better understand exactly what homophobic hate crime really is.
Respondents were asked to describe the most recent incident they had experienced. Responses range from one lad being beaten up; a teacher being harassed on a daily basis by her students aged 14-16 and being off work sick for months as a result; neighbours damaging property (ripping down iron gate); having cans thrown at you; physical threats; being spat on; being followed; lots and lots of verbal abuse from young men passing in cars, on the street, and so on. Other incidents included: being attacked by a chap with a broken bottle in a pub; having car scratched; stones thrown; garden vandalised and condom pinned to front door (gay man); garden trashed and number plates ripped off two cars (lesbian).
Unfortunately, participants were not asked to describe the perpetrators. Gross (2000) emphasises that the majority of hate crimes, as of all violent crimes, are committed by young men. According to statistics from a lesbian and gay violence and discrimination hotline, the principal perpetrators of homophobic crime are teenage and young adult males, recent products of the education system. Berrill (1992) states: "The general profile of a 'gay-basher'...is a young male, often acting together with other young males, all of whom are strangers to the victims." As Gross points out, the school system is clearly failing to persuade these young men that violence and harassment against gay and lesbian people (or anyone) is repugnant and wrong.
The majority of previous research found that a high percentage of homophobic incidents were happening on the street. This study reflects that with 61% of the most recent incidents occurring on street. The majority of incidents happened in Hebden Bridge, Todmorden or Halifax, which mirrors the places where the majority of the participants lived and socialised.
Eighteen percent of incidents took place at home, but these were assumed to be by either family members or neighbours since respondents were questioned independently about domestic violence in the home. This is a similar finding to Mullen (1999). The remaining 21% occurred at school, work, on the scene or other. It is worth noting that a GALOP study concerning young LGB people found equal numbers of male and female participants experienced physical abuse; the difference was that the young men experienced this mainly on the street whereas the young women experienced it more in the home from families. The ACTION study found that four of the 15 participants had been beaten up by their families (two male, two female).
5.6 Homophobic Bullying in School
The survey only included a handful of LGB people aged 25 years and below; in Calderdale this is a largely invisible and isolated population. Therefore we could only briefly look at the homophobic incidents in schools. However, the relevant responses do reflect national and indeed, international, findings as well as the earlier findings of the ACTION for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Young People in Calderdale (67% of 15 interviewed had experienced homophobic abuse in school; 80% had overheard name-calling and homophobic jokes).
The Safe Schools Coalition of Washington study provides excellent support for research carried out in Britain. It included eight population-based studies five of which included anti-gay harassment and the safety and well being of sexual minority students. Not only was this research on a huge scale (83,000 students), but also for every single LGB student there were more than ten heterosexual students acting as controls. The violence/injury is at least twice as high amongst young LGB’s compared with heterosexuals. The US study also provides a clear link between homophobic hate crime, internalised homophobia and mental health problems, including attempted suicide: LGB students in each study were significantly more likely to attempt suicide than heterosexual students. This has important implications regarding the mental health needs of LGB people.
5.7 Psychological Effects
Most research concerning the effects of homophobia has been conducted with gay men. For example, US researcher Dr Ilan Meyer (1995) discovered that gay men who have high levels of stress due to homophobia and discrimination are two to three times more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and behaviour, AIDS-related traumatic stress, guilt feelings, and sex problems. Three major stressors were identified: internalised homophobia, which relates to gay men's direction of societal negative attitudes toward the self; expectations of rejection and discrimination and actual events of antigay violence and discrimination. The findings show that each of these minority stress processes is related to mental health problems. In addition, the three processes interact. For example, men who were victims of antigay violence or discrimination suffered greater emotional pain if they directed blame to their homosexuality, a form of internalised homophobia. "This suggests that experiencing events of discrimination or violence is more painful when the person agrees with the homophobic attitudes conveyed by the victimization event," said the author who is assistant clinical professor in public health, a postdoctoral research fellow in health psychology at the Graduate Centre of the City University of New York.
There has been little research, which examines the combined effects of sexism and homophobia on lesbians. Bridget and Lucille (1996) conducted in-depth interviews with twenty young lesbians who were particularly isolated and many were multi-oppressed. They found that 70% of the participants had attempted suicide, 85% experienced high levels of depression; 55% abused themselves in other ways; 50% had serious alcohol problems; 65% smoked; 55% had been homeless; and 50% had been sexually abused or raped.
Meyer, ibid, also found that a sense of community cohesiveness serves to reduce mental health problems. "Men who felt connected to the gay community were better able to cope and had lower levels of stress. Preventive efforts are important," said Meyer. The findings highlight the need for gay affirmative programmes in dealing with psychological distress in lesbians and gay men, for public education and legislation aimed at reducing antigay violence and discrimination, and for improving the social environment for minorities in general.
A high percentage of respondents in the Calderdale study (69%) have not only experienced a homophobic incident but also witnessed at least one. This compares to 49% found in Browns’ survey across Kirklees. Garnets et al (1992) suggest that hate crimes can cause psychological harm over and above that associated with non-bias crimes. Psychological harm can occur when there are no direct assaults or violence but when LGB’s witness prolonged anti-gay campaigns such as the one in the USA to reverse legislation providing legal protection for LGB’s (Colorado’s Amendment 2). This anti-gay campaign was directed by Christian right-wing organisations who successfully utilised the media in over-turning the legislation. Russell (1995) found that many LGB people in Colorado were traumatised by the relentless and negative process and shock at the outcome (the amendment was successful). It seems likely that there will have been similar reactions in Britain to the campaigns to reduce the age of consent for gay men, repeal section 28 of the local government act and other similar legislation. This may be especially true in areas like Calderdale where there was a concerted effort by 29 right-wing Christian organisations in the local media to retain section 28. This also happened in other areas (e.g. a similar letter to that printed in the Halifax Evening Courier which sparked off months of anti-gay letters was published in the Reading area – this was signed by 35 right-wing Christians). These campaigns were managed by the Christian Institute, up-fronted by Baroness Young in the House of Lords. The campaign was also successful in Britain (although Section 28 has been removed in Scotland). The effects of this sort of constant homophobia in the local media is very soul destroying.
The psychological shock LGB’s suffered in Colorado at discovering friends, work-mates and family members voting against equal rights resulted in increased self-reported depression, anxiety, symptoms of post-traumatic disorder, reinforced internalised oppression and increased fears for one’s safety.
Gross (2000) points out how the religious right in the USA have poured thousands of dollars into campaigns e.g. the 1998 "Truth in Love" campaign which promoted scientifically discredited treatment to convince Americans that being gay was a choice that could be reversed. (One of the letters printed in the Halifax Courier referred to similar discredited research). They perpetuated false stereotypes of gays as child molesters, called efforts to protect students from harassment as "indoctrination" and labelled the law against hate crimes as "thought policing". It is easy to see where the Calderdale coalition of 29 got their ideas from!
Homophobic hate crime is at the extreme end of homophobia. Homophobia is created and perpetuated by religion, medicine, law, media, education and the family. Homophobic hate crime helps to create and perpetuate internalised homophobia in LGB people, the effects of which can be devastating, particularly on mental well-being. Again, the USA are far more advanced than Britain, as the literature review shows.
With appropriate support at the right time development of more severe mental health problems (including alcohol/drug misuse) can be reduced or avoided. However, in an area like Calderdale where until recently there has been no support for LGB people, it is likely that there will be disproportionately higher numbers of LGB people with mental health problems, a high percentage of those who have killed themselves will be LGB and significant numbers of people with alcohol/drugs problems are likely to be LGB. Calderdale has one of the highest suicide rates in England.
5.8 Restrictions on LGBs
A typical response from a homophobic person goes something like 'I don't mind gays but why do they have to ram their sexuality down our throats?' The findings show that, although some of the participants do feel able to be themselves in public (as do heterosexuals), the majority restrict themselves for fear of receiving homophobic abuse. Seventy percent of the participants avoid kissing or holding hands, this compares with 82% of respondents in the national survey; 60% avoiding other expressions of affection and 41% hide their sexuality in some way when in public.
In his key points regarding Community Safety and the NHS in London, Dr David Woodhead, Fellow - Public Health Programme, states, "Fear of crime has a significant impact on mental health. It undermines individuals' confidence, stops them from leaving their homes, shopping or seeing family and friends..." Dr. Woodhead acknowledges that racist and homophobic violence deserves much greater attention, "as do safety issues for disabled people." Homophobic hate crime stops many LGB people from being themselves; it encourages internalised homophobia.
There was a general consensus when respondents were asked whether they avoided any particular areas. These included; mainly straight bars/clubs, and Todmorden, Halifax and Hebden Bridge town centres at night. When asked whether they avoided going out at certain times, respondents generally said; at night, especially Friday and Saturday nights when there are a lot of straight youths around the town centres.
5.9 Reporting Homophobic Hate Crime
Pinson & Ashton (2001) found in their national survey that more men than women felt physically under threat by the offender, more frightened of the police knowing their sexuality and of police homophobia. This no doubt reflects the fact that until recently relationships with a same-sex person under 21 years of age was illegal for gay men and that gay men are regularly arrested for sexual offences in a public place (cottaging, cruising). It is indeed problematic that, on the one hand the police want LGB people to report homophobic hate crime whilst on the other, many laws still discriminate against LGB people.
Tracy Booker (Probation Service and member of the Homophobic Hate Crime Task Group) conducted some research with Calderdale Police. Over the last twelve months only twelve homophobic hate crimes have been reported. She discussed the issue with Inspector Mike Hanks (the Community Liaison officer in charge of hate crimes) who acknowledged the problem of finding a true picture of HHC in Calderdale. He said he was aware of the difficulties of reporting crimes that are homophobically related and wants to find the best way to enable this to happen. He added that he was willing to work with the LGB community. (He has a remit under the Crime and Disorder Act (1998) to do this).
The MSM Project (HIV/AIDs prevention) working with Calderdale Police did make an attempt to set up a third-party reporting system. However, no-one contacted this service and strong reservations about it were expressed at the time of the launch, highlighted by the following questions, questions which would be valid should another third-party system be set up:
Who is going to be answering the telephone? i.e. it is likely that the person who has been on the end of a homophobic hate crime will be distressed. It might be that this is the first time they have spoken to anyone about it. The person answering the telephone and dealing with the report must, therefore,
What other agencies are there to deal with the effects? Are they gay-friendly?
What about the attitudes of the police? Whilst some may be supportive, many are not.
There has been little homophobia awareness training with Calderdale Police and hardly any liaison with the LGB community. This situation contrasts strongly with other police forces.
For example, the Metropolitan Police in London have been working on this issue for many years, more particularly since they launched "Policing Diversity – Protect and respect" in 1998. They recently funded the production of rainbow rubbers with the words "Rub Out Homophobia" and rainbow rulers with "Rule Out Homophobia" to distribute in London schools.
Brighton Police have been working with the LGB community for over ten years. They have recently been awarded funding from the Home Office and have set up three forums for Domestic Violence, Race Hate Crime and Homophobic Hate Crime and have appointed two workers to develop the LGB forum and community work.
Greater Manchester Lesbian and Gay Policing Initiative conducted a survey in 1998 and have since developed an 'Incident Self Reporting Form’, which is freepost and simply asks details of the homophobic hate crime which the person wants to report.
By comparison, Calderdale police have done very little to develop trust with the LGB communities or to tackle homophobic hate crime. Although there is the West Yorkshire LGBT Police Liaison Committee which meets every month moving between the main towns and cities in West Yorkshire, whenever it meets in Halifax there is a poor turnout from the local agencies, be they Police, Victim Support or Calderdale Community Safety Partnership. This does not give a very good message to those LGB people from Calderdale who bother to turn up at the meetings. Furthermore, it has not been easy to get a representative of these agencies to attend the Calderdale Homophobic Hate Crime Task Group. If the problem is to be tackled it is crucial the relevant agencies meet with the Task Group.
The survey results reflect the low level of confidence in the police service in Calderdale: Only 18% (three female, two male) of the respondents had ever reported an incident. This compares with 23% of the Kirklees study and 13% of the Berkshire survey. The national survey found that 25% of the respondents had reported homophobic incidents. It will be interesting to find out, when the full results of the national survey are published, whether reporting is higher in areas where the police have done more work with the LGB communities.
The respondents who reported the most recent attack were asked to rate the service they received. For the initial treatment they rated the police as follows: one said they thought the service was very poor; one thought the service was poor; one thought it was just okay and two people thought the service was good. For the overall treatment: one person thought the service was very poor, three thought it was okay and one person thought it was good.
Comments from the participants also reveal a lack of confidence and trust in the police service regarding LGB issues, the police attitude towards LGB people and their needs.
It is evident from the data that reporting an incident involves consideration as to whether the incident is serious enough to report. Several respondents said that they did not perceive the incident as ‘crime’ and therefore did not involve the police. Others said that they did not think the police would regard it as a crime and would then be seen as 'wasting police time'. Most of the respondents in the national survey said that they 'just didn't bother' to report the offence or felt that 'nothing would come of reporting it.'
Regardless of whether respondents would report an incident or not, 92% thought it was important to report incidents to the police. The majority of respondents said that we need to raise the awareness of homophobic hate crime, so we can generate more support.
Respondents were offered a number of strategies which could be undertaken by the police to help the situation. The most popular choice of strategy was development of police anti-homophobia policies (one-third). Providing specialist gay, lesbian liaison/community officers was close behind (28%: first choice). The general response is that the police need to work alongside the LGB community, to make an effort to show that they can be trusted and that they will help.
Most people who sought support after a crime turned to their partners and friends for support. Women tended to seek support more than men. For non-homophobic crimes: 76% of women versus 50% of men sought support; for homophobic crimes: 67% of women versus 33% of men sought support.
There was a huge difference in seeking help from family and professionals when the crime is not homophobically motivated to that seen with homophobic crimes: Twenty-four percent sought help from family after the last non-homophobic crime compared with only 3% after a homophobic incident. Twenty-two percent sought help from a professional after the last non-homophobic crime compared with only 9% after the last homophobic incident. Again, from the comments given, reasons for not seeking support were because respondents didn’t think they needed it, or because they didn’t perceive the incident as a crime.
Victim Support does not seem to have a good reputation among the respondents: Few people would seek support from them after a homophobically motivated incident. Those who have dealt with Victim Support in a professional capacity do not have a good opinion of it.
The findings clearly show that Victim Support have a lot to do to make their services more accessible and relevant to LGB people. The majority of the respondents (86%) said they would be happy talking to an LGB worker.
5.11 Same-sex Domestic Violence
Two of the respondents (both female) did not answer this question. Twenty-four percent of the remaining respondents had experienced same-sex domestic violence: 75% female (9); 25% male (3). One of the women had experienced domestic violence in both same- and opposite-sex relations; a further two female respondents had experienced domestic violence within mixed-sex relationships.
There has been little research into same-sex domestic violence and much of this is with lesbians. The Calderdale findings mirror those for Kirklees: 24% (17) of Brown's respondents had experienced same-sex domestic violence: 32% of the women (27% in Calderdale) and 20% of the men (18% in Calderdale)
These findings are not all that different to Lesbewell's (1995) survey of 120 British women (105 lesbian, 11 bisexual): 20%. Higher levels of abuse have been found in US research: Schilit et al (1990) surveyed 104 lesbians: 37% reported abusive relationships.
In the earlier ACTION research with young LGB people in Calderdale, five of respondents (33.3%) had experienced same-sex violence: four male, one female. Mullen (1999) found that 21% of the 169 young LGB people surveyed (25 years and below) had experienced same-sex domestic violence (19% males 25% females).
These findings clearly show that domestic violence is a problem amongst same-sex as well as opposite-sex couples.. However, domestic violence projects are aimed at supporting heterosexual women. The literature review in this project did not include domestic violence. Further work is needed to find out what research has been conducted, what the frequency is within same-sex relationships (female and male), whether the causes are similar to those for opposite-sex domestic violence, and what kind of support same-sex couples need. Such research should take on board power differences including age-differences, as the ACTION findings suggested that it was older people who were abusing younger people.
Alexander, K. New youth report (1997) Telling it like it is - Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth Speak Out on Homophobic Violence. GALOP, London.
Berrill, K. (1992) Anti-gay violence and victimization in the United States: An overview. Taken from: Herek & Berrill (1992).
Booker, T. (2001) Raising the awareness of the Criminal Justice response to homophobic hate crime. Presentation handout.
Bridget, J. & Lucille, S. (1996) Lesbian Youth Support Information Service (LYSIS): Developing a Distance Support Agency for Young Lesbians, Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, Vol 6, 386.1-10.
Bridget, J. (2000) ACTION for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth in Calderdale – Research Project Report. Lesbian Information Service.
Brighton Lesbian & Gay Switchboard (1998) Homophobia /avoidance strategies. Community Safety Fact sheets.
Brown, L.S. (1986) Confronting internalised oppression in sex therapy with lesbians, Journal of Homosexuality, Vol 12, p99-107. Cited in Shidlo ibid.
Brown, P. (2000) Lesbian Gay & Bisexual Community Safety Survey: Living, Working and Playing in Kirklees: The findings. Victim Support, Kirklees.
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Douglas et al (1997) Institute of education. Playing It Safe: Responses of Secondary School Teachers to Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Pupils, Bullying, HIV/AIDS Education Section 28. London, Institute of Education University of London.
Duncan, N. (Routledge 1999) Sexual Bullying: Gender Conflict in Pupil Culture. Stonewall.
Fahey, W. (1995) Discriminating students, Young People Now, March.
Finn, P & McNeil, T. (1987) Response of the Criminal Justice System to Bias Crime. U.S. Department of Justice.
Finnegan, D.G. & Cook, D. (1984) Special issues affecting the treatment of male and lesbian alcoholics, Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, Vol 1 p85-98. Cited in Shidlo ibid.
Friedman, R.C. (1991) Couple therapy with gay couples, Psychiatric Annals, Vol 21, p485-490. Cited in Shidlo ibid.
Friedman, R. Downey, J. (1994) Homosexuality, The New England Journal of Medicine, Vol 331(14), p.923-930.
GALOP, LGB anti-violence and police monitoring project in London.
GALOP (1998) Telling It Like It Is : Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth Speak Out on Homophobic Violence.
Garnets, L., Herek, G., & Levy, B. (1992) Violence and victimization of lesbians and gay men: Mental health consequences. In G. Herek & K. Berrill (Eds), Hate crimes: Confronting violence against lesbians and gay men. Newbury Park, CA: Sage.
George, K.D. & Behrendt, A.E. (1988) Therapy for male couples experiencing relationship problems and sexual problems, Journal of Homosexuality, Vol 14, p77-88. Cited in Shidlo ibid.
Glaus, O.K. (1988) Alcoholism, chemical dependency and the lesbian client, Women and Therapy, Vol 8, p131-144. Cited in Shidlo ibid.
Gonsiorek, J.C. (1988), Mental Health Issues of Gay and Lesbian Adolescents, Journal of Adolescent Health Care, Vol 9(2), p114-122.
Gonsiorek, J.C. & Rudolph, (1991) Homosexual identity: Coming out and other developmental events. In J. Gonsiorek & J. Weinrich, eds, Homosexuality: Research implications for public policy, p161-176. Sage. Cited in Hancock ibid.
Greater Manchester Lesbian & Gay Policing Initiative (1998) Lesbians’ Experiences Of Violence And Harassment.
Gross, L. (2000) The 1999-2000 Study of Discrimination and Violence against Lesbian Women and Gay Men in Philadelphia and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The Philadelphia Lesbian and Gay Task Force.
Hampson, S. (1998) Lesbians, Crime and Policing in West Yorkshire – An exploratory investigation into hate motivated crime and reporting to the police. Vice Chair West Yorkshire Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Policing Initiative.
Hancock, K.A. (2000) Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Lives, Basic Issues in Psychotherapy Training and Practice, p91-130. In Greene & Croom ibid.
Herek, G. M. & Berrill, K. T. (1992). Hate Crimes, Confronting Violence Against Lesbians and Gay Men. Sage Publications, Inc. U.S.
Herek, G. M. (1998). Stigma and Sexual Orientation, Understanding Prejudice Against Lesbians, Gay Men, and Bisexuals. Psychological Perspectives on Lesbian and Gay Issues, Vol. 4. Sage Publications, Inc. U.S.
Hickson et al. (1997) Gay Men’s Sex Survey.
Hunter et al (1998) cited in Garnets ibid.
Jackson, J. (2000) Homophobia in Kensington & Chelsea: A major local survey. London School of Economics.
John, S. & Patrick, A. (March 1999) Poverty and Social Exclusion of Lesbians and Gay Men in Glasgow. A report by Glasgow Women’s Library. Funded by Glasgow City Council.
Lesbewell (1995), cited in Dykenosis.
Loulan, J (1984) Lesbian Sex, San Francisco Spinsters, cited in Shidlo ibid.
Malyon, A.K. (1982) Psychotherpaeutic implications of internalixed homophobia in gay men, Journal of Homosexuality, Vol 7, p59-70. Cited in Shidlo ibid.
Margolies, L. Becker, M. & Jackson-Brewer, K. (1987) Internalized homophobia : Identifying and treating the oppressor within. In Boston Lesbian Psychologies Collective (ed) Lesbian psychologies: Explorations and challenges, p229-242. University of Illinois. Cited in Shidlo ibid.
Mason A. & Palmer A. (1996) Queer Bashing : A National Survey of Hate Crimes Against Lesbians and Gay Men. London, Stonewall.
Meyer, I.H. (1995) Minority Stress and mental health in gay men. Journal of Health & Social Behaviour, Vol. 36(1) p38-56.
Mullen, A. (1999) Homophobia and Homophobic Crime in Berkshire. Berkshire Anti-Homophobic Group in partnership with ReachOut, Reading’s Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth Group.
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Cited in Shidlo, ibid.
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Pisarski, A., & Gallois, C., (1996) A needs analysis of Brisbane lesbians: implications for the lesbian community. Journal of Homosexuality, Vol. 30(4), p79-95.
Policing Diversity – Protect and Respect, Working for a safer London (2001). Published by Metropolitan Police Service, London.
Reece, R. (1988) Causes and treatments of sexual desire discrepancies in male couples, Journal of Homosexuality, Vol 14, p157-172. Cited in Shidlo ibid.
Richardson, C. (1994) Murder unsolved, Gay Times, July.
Rivers, I. (1998) Social Inclusion, absenteeism and sexual minority youth. Support For Learning, Vol. 15, no.1.
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Russell (1995) cited in Garnets ibid.
Shidlo, A (1994) Internalized Homophobia: Conceptual and Empirical Issues in Mesasurement in Greene, B & Herek, G.M. (1994) Lesbian and Gay Psychology, Theory, Research, and Clinical Applications, , (Volume 1 Psychological Perspectives on Lesbian and Gay Issues), p176-205, Sage Publications
Smith, D. (1997) A Clear Message for the Police, Gay Times, November
Snape et al (1995) Discrimination Against Gay Men and Lesbians. A study of the nature and extent of discrimination against homosexual men and women in Britain today. Social and Community Planning Research.
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Stein T.S. & Cohen, C.J. (1984) Psychotherapy with gay men and lesbians: An examination of homophobia, coming out, and identity in E.S. Hetrick & T.S. Stein eds Innovations in psychotherapy with homosexuals p59-74. American Psychiatric Press. Cited in Shidlo, ibid.
Stonewall (2001) Angela Mason speaking at a recent conference on Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Transgendered people and Mental Health, Coventry.
Trenchard, L. & Warren, H. (1984), Something To Tell You, London, Lesbian and Gay Teenage Group.
Troiden, R. (1979) Becoming homosexual: A model of gay identity acquisition, Psychiatry Vol 42, p362-373. Cited in Shidlo, ibid.
West Yorkshire Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Policing Initiative (1998-1999) Second Annual Report – Working towards a safer community.
Woodhead, D. (2000) Community Safety and the NHS in London, Stakeholder views. King's Fund.
Community United Against Violence San Francisco :http://www.cuav.org/
Department For Education and Skills :http://www.dfes.gov.uk/bullying
GLEE Project :http://Glee.oulu.fi/
Joint Action Against Homophobic Bullying :http://www.intercomtrust.org.uk/bullying/index.htm
LAMBDA , US :http://www.lambda.org
NationalAssociationofSchoolmastersUnionof Women Teachers : http://www.teachersunion.org.uk
National Centre For Victims Of Crime, Washington :www.ncvc.org/stats
National Union of Teachers :http:/www.teachers.org.uk
OXAIDS, Oxfordshire :http://www.oxfordshire.co.uk/data/016232.html
School’s Out National : http:/www.schools-out.org.uk/
SIGMA Research, London.http://www.sigma-r.demon.co.uk/
The New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project: http://www.avp.org/
The Safe Schools Coalition of Washington :www.safeschools-wa.org
ACTION for Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Youth in Calderdale
An Inter-Agency Group including representatives from Lesbian Information Service, Calderdale Health Promotion Centre and Community Education Service. ACTION was set up in 1997 with the purpose of facilitating research into the needs and experiences of LGB young people in Calderdale. Funding was acquired from the Calderdale Community Foundation, the Rural Development Commission and the Health Authority. The findings of the project were disseminated through a report (Bridget 2000) and a one-day seminar held in Halifax in March 1999.
Amsterdam Treaty – Article 13 EC
Due to be in place by December 2003, Article 13 will prevent employers from sacking employees on the grounds of their sexuality.
Article 13 was signed as Part of the Treaty of Amsterdam by heads of Government in June 1997. It introduced for the first time a general principle of non-discrimination into the EC Treaty, and provides a platform for comprehensive anti-discrimination policies, legislative or otherwise. It confers explicit and specific power on the Council of the European Union to combat a wide range of discrimination.
"Before the Treaty of Amsterdam, the European Union had only prohibited discrimination on grounds of nationality and had enforced equal pay for men and women doing equivalent work. Article 13 took a much broader Human Rights approach to non-discrimination."
It reads: "Without prejudice to the other provisions of this Treaty and within the limits of the powers conferred by it upon the Community, the Council, acting unanimously on a proposal from the Commission and after consulting the European Parliament, may take appropriate action to combat discrimination based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age, or sexual orientation."
AVP : Anti-Violence Project
The Anti-Violence Project, taken on by many organisations. For example in, New South Wales (AVPNSW), New York and the UK.
The New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project,240 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001: (212) 714-1184 (phone) : (212) 714-1141 (24 hours).
BAHG : Berkshire Anti-Homophobia Group
BLGS : Brighton Lesbian and Gay Switchboard
B & H : Brighton and Hove
Sanders S. Patrick P. & Talbot A. – The Awareness Team – Celebrating Difference and Engineering Change – Working for the rights and perspectives of LGB’s everywhere and especially in education. London based organisation supporting the rights of LGB’s.
CUAV : Community United Against Violence
Again taken on by many organisations. For example in: San Francisco : 973 Market St., #500, San Francisco, CA 94103.
Business Line: (415)777-5500 / Fax: (415)777-5565 / 24 Hr. Support Line: (415) 333-HELP / E-mail:
DFES : Department For Education and Skills
"Creating opportunity, releasing potential, achieving excellence" Research, publications, information, consultations, speeches and support for all levels of education.
Offices in London, Sheffield, Darlington and Runcorn. DFES Telephone number: 08700 012345 : Public Enquiries: 0870 000 2288
In 1998 Diversity Alliance formed as a subgroup of Lesbian & Gay Community Safety Forum (LGCSF) to specifically address harassment, violence and abuse against lesbian and gay young people in schools and other young peoples settings.
LGCSF established 1997 to address community safety issues for lesbians and gay men in Brighton & Hove. Initial proposals for a campaign to reduce homophobic bullying against young people were included in the Brighton & Hove Crime Reduction & Community Safety Strategy and Diversity Alliance as part of LGCSF were charged with the task of taking this forward.
FUSION - Working Towards A Safer And Fairer Community
A group dedicated to fighting ‘hate crime’ – that is crime against an individual or a group, based solely on their race, colour, creed, sexual orientation or vulnerability. It is spearheaded by the Kensington & Chelsea Gay & Lesbian Community & Police Liaison Group.
GALOP : Formerly known as GAy LOndon Policing, Now represents LGB London Policing.
LGB anti-violence and police monitoring project in London. Established 1980’s to provide a service for gay men but joined with LESPOP (lesbian policing) to provide a service for lesbians and gay men across London. Had a large re-structuring process and re-launch in 1995.
GALOP runs a telephone help line, "Shoutline" offering assistance to LGB’s in dealing with homophobic violence and the police.
A network of education initiatives to combat homophobia and heterosexism. An interactive network of teacher training, curriculum development and research initiatives to combat homophobia and heterosexism.
The rationale for the GLEE project’s teacher in-service focus is based on the premise that on-going training is instrumental to redressing the detrimental effects of homophobia and heterosexism.
GLEE is funded by the European Commission as part of the Socrates Comenius Programme for school education.
JAAHB : Joint Action Against Homophobic Bullying
Provides advice on addressing homophobic bullying. Established 1999, holds its own website. Provides practical recourses for use in schools.
A LGBT Community Service (non-profit) in the US, which is dedicated to reducing homophobia, inequality, hate crimes, and discrimination by encouraging self-acceptance. Lambda provides a national AVP and hate crime hotline; 800.616.HATE. Email: AVP@Lambda.orghttp://www.lambda.org/avp_gen.htm
LGB : Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual
LGBT : Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
LGBTH : Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and HIV Positive
LIS : Lesbian Information Service
Founded in 1987, LIS has conducted extensive research into lesbian and gay issues. Provides training, consultation, information, research and publications, all of which are available free via the web site. LIS probably has one of the best research libraries in Britain on lesbian and gay issues. It has supported thousands of lesbians, in particular young lesbians and lesbians who are coming out.
P.O. Box 8, Todmorden, Lancashire, OL14 5TZ. Tel: 01706.817235http://www.lesbianinformationservice.org/
MESMAC : MEn who have Sex with Men Action in the Community
MESMAC work with gay and bisexual men to increase the range of choices open to them. Their services are open to all gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men, including those who are still unsure if they're gay or bisexual. For men who are HIV+, HIV-, or just don't know.
Services are fully confidential and include: One to one counselling, Groups, Sexual health advice, free condoms and lube, Anti-violence services, Archive and research resources.
Their phone line provides information such as: How to meet other gay and bisexual men, the gay scene, and safer sex. They also offer the chance to talk about things like coming out, relationships, sexual abuse, Police and legal issues, and being married.
MESMAC have offices in Newcastle and Middlesborough, with many local groups and services.http://www.mesmac-northeast.demon.co.uk/
MSM : Men who have Sex with Men
Working with MSM is one of three departments at The Brunswick Centre, (Halifax) a community health organisation that supports people affected by HIV and other sexual health issues. Other departments are; Women’s Sexual Health and Care and Support (care of people affected by HIV). Brunswick centre offers resources, complementary therapies, free condoms and lube, housing and benefit information, counselling, befriending, bereavement and practical support. With a drop in office in Huddersfield on a Tuesday.
South Street, Halifax HX1 2EL: Phone 01422 341764: Fax 01422 438301: Email: email@example.com
NASUWT : The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers, Birmingham
NASUWT has members in all sectors of education and represents teachers in all roles including heads and deputies. The national network of representatives and officers provides legal and professional support.
NASUWT has long standing views on the funding of schools, the national curriculum and has a stance on violent and disruptive pupils, excessive workload and bureaucracy. They recognise and take action on homophobic bullying.http://www.teachersunion.org.uk
NCAVP : National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
A coalition of more than twenty individual programs across the United States, which document and advocate for victims of anti-LGBTH incidents.
NCVP : National Centre For Victims Of Crime
Organisation in Washington to help victims of crime. 2000 M Street NW, Suite 480, Washington, DC 20036: Phone (202) 467-8700/8701 (Fax).http://www.ncvc.org/stats
NUT : National Union of Teachers
Organisation for teachers across the UK providing support on a vast range of subjects.
Organisation in Oxfordshire offering advice and information on HIV and AIDS.
43 Pembroke Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire,OX1 1BP. Phone: 01865 243389 Fax: 01865 792210 http://www.oxfordshire.co.uk/data/016232.html
PACT : Positive ACTion against hate crime
PACT is a campaign raised by West Yorkshire Police to encourage LGBT’s to report homophobic crimes, to provide a mechanism for the police to assess the scale and nature of homophobic incidents, which are occurring, through separate recording and monitoring procedures and to provide the police with opportunities to enhance community safety by seeking to prevent other incidents occurring.
School’s Out! National
A national campaigning body dedicated to working for LGBT equality in education. Providing formal and informal support for LGBT’s; Researching, debating and stimulating curriculum development on issues of sexuality, and campaigning on LGBT issues as the affect education and those in education; for example the repeal of Section 28 of the 1988 local government act. See appendix 4 for legislation & guidance.http://www.schools-out.org.uk/
Postal address:- BM School’s Out! National London WC1N 3XX : Efirstname.lastname@example.org
Section 28 of the 1988 local government act reads:
"A local authority shall not (a) intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality; (b) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship. Nothing (in the above clauses) shall be taken to prohibit the doing of anything for the purpose of preventing the spread of disease."
Repeal of Section 28 was included in the Local Government Bill, but was removed by the House of Lords. We hope that its repeal is reinstated by the House of Commons when it debates the Bill, probably early March 2000.
London based organisation working for the rights of gay men.http://www.sigma-r.demon.co.uk/
STAR : Surviving Trauma After Rape
A large national and international organisation and campaigning body for lesbian and gay equality.
"Stonewall Lobby Group was established in London in 1989 by women and men who had been active in the upsurge of struggle against Section 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act. Stonewall's founders wanted to create a political lobby group employing full time professional staff working towards the advancement of the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of lesbians and gay men."
Stonewall Lobby Group, 46-48 Grosvenor Gardens, London SW1W 0EB: Phone 020 7881 9440
The Met : Metropolitan Police Service, London.
TUC : Trades Union Congress
"The voice of Britain at work" TUC has more than 70 member unions representing nearly seven million working people. They campaign for a fair deal at work and for social justice at home and abroad. As well as negotiating in Europe, and at home building links with political parties, business and the community.
TUC support the rights of homosexuals and run several campaigns around equal treatment for gay workers.http://www.tuc.org.uk
Poems by Stephen, GALYIC member.
A1.1 Incidents over 5 years ago
Interview 1, woman aged 53. Full account of an incident experienced over 5 years ago. Verbal abuse, intimidation, threats and attempted physical assault.
"When I was in Leicester, I’d just started a new job in 1986, I was thinking about joining a female band, and had arranged to meet the women from this band in a pub, right opposite the police station in Leicester.
It just so happened that there was a farewell do, somebody from work was leaving as well. The two groups were there at the same time and we ended up having a big semi circle and I was right at the end.
I could hear the pub was packed even though it was only about 7 o-clock. I heard some rowdiness and a fracas going on, and these fellows were drunk. Then I heard one of them say ‘Fucking dyke’ and I said to the woman next to me, I’m beginning to feel distinctly uncomfortable. I told her what I’d heard and I was aware I was conscious of what was going on.
The next thing I know, one of these blokes took his trousers down and stuck his bottom in my face and I was actually quite shocked about this, I had a pint of lager, I’d only drunk a little bit so I threw the rest of my drink over him. With that he pulled his trousers back up and then threw his drink over me. I thought well fair enough I’ve just thrown mine over him so we’ll leave it at that. But that wasn’t the end of it because he then came up and started calling me a ‘Fucking dyke’ and I can’t remember some of the other things – the other words, but he said; come outside and let me show you who’s the man, he started dragging me outside and I pushed him off.
By this time people realised what was happening and luckily there were some guys from work and they came and sort of separated it. It went on for a little while, and then this guy started fighting with Steve – this guy from work. He was obviously in an aggressive mood, and then he calmed down a bit so we thought it was over. But then he smashed a bottle and came at me with this broken bottle, I grabbed a chair like a lion tamer, to use it to stop him getting at me and then a lot of people reacted and they eventually calmed down.
The landlady had rung the police when it started; the whole thing took about 20 minutes. I think they realised that there was too many people in the pub and they went these blokes, three of them, they left.
I was obviously in a shaken state, the police came eventually, it took them a long time given the police station was opposite. If they’d come straight away they would have got these blokes but it was 20 minutes after that they’d come.
They weren’t interested, they could see I was shaken up, and they said well if you want to report it then go over to the police station. So we did, we all traipsed over, about six of us to report this incident. We waited half an hour. This bloke, this officer at the desk kept seeing other people and we just said ‘sod it’ and walked out. Didn’t hear another word about it!
It was shocking."
A1.2 Most recent incidents experienced
Interview 2, Man aged 20. Full account of the most recent incident experienced. Verbal abuse and physical assault experienced within last year
It was in the street, coming out of Hebden Bridge towards Mytholmroyd.
There were three of us together, and we’d come away from a party, it was about midnight and we went for a taxi. It had been a busy night in Hebden Bridge and the taxi waiting time was about 40 minutes so we just set off walking.
A group of lads that were on the other side of the road shouting abuse – general derogatory terms, they appeared to know, well they did know one of the people that was with us. They were shouting his name and he didn’t know who they were so we just carried on and ignored them. But they carried on trying to get our attention and they said, just say hello, that’s all we want then we’ll go away, so I turned round and said hello and carried on walking, - did what they asked and they crossed over.
We crossed over to try and keep as much distance as we could between them and us and we’d just got out of the lit area, the lit part of the road and I heard them running behind us. These lads went for the friend of mine- the person they knew, and he ended up really bad, I tried phoning the police from my mobile so they went for me, soon as they saw I’d got my mobile out they went for me. One lad hit me in the face, smashed my glasses.
Luckily, I had actually phoned 999 and because I’d just hung up they phoned back, the operator, to see if there was a problem. Just then some girls, we think must have been friends of lads that attacked us – came up behind them and said – look leave it.
They started off walking and just as they set off walking the police came from the direction they were walking to. The police claimed they’d never seen anybody, the police stopped and talked to us, so basically they let the lads go. We’d told them which way they’d gone but they stayed to talk to us before going to find the lads.
Nothing came of it, we’re still waiting to hear if the lads have been caught, so I don’t think it’s going to happen.
It upset me at the time, but I think overall it’s made me stronger, because it’s happened now; I’m not waiting for it to happen, because it’s already happened. So I suppose I thought it wouldn’t happen to me, and it did. I did loose sleep over it.
2 Verbal abuse, within the last 5 years, on street. Halifax
Neighbour drunk at night. F(36)
4 Verbal abuse, within the last year, on street. Todmorden
Name calling - "Lessies" "Lesbians" F(49)
6 Verbal abuse, within the last 5 years, on street at home while socialising but not on the scene. Todmorden
Name calling in town. F(42)
7 Verbal abuse, within the last month, on street. Todmorden
Insults/ Name calling while walking down local street. M(38)
13 Verbal abuse, within the last year on street. Leeds
Verbal abuse from a group of men outside a pub F(23)
8 Verbal abuse/threats intimidation, within the last year, socialising on the scene. Hudds
Myself and some friends were outside a ‘mixed’ pub shortly before closing. A man who was obviously drunk and well known for causing trouble on the gay scene verbally abused us which included intimidation. F(24)
15 Verbal abuse, within the last month, on street. London
Passers by making sexual homophobic comments. F(25)
17 Verbal abuse, within last 5 years, on street. Todmorden
A neighbour was shouting anti-lesbian abuse, she was out of control. F(44)
18 Damage to property/car/possessions, threats/intimidation. Within last 5 years, at partners home. Birkenhead
Extended shouting, verbal abuse hammering on house, followed by scratching side panels of car and threats of violence.. F(39)
20 Verbal abuse, within last year, on street. Halifax
Name calling whilst walking down street with partner. F(27)
21 Verbal abuse, within last year, on street. Hebden
Group of men name calling etc. F(38)
25 Theft, within last five years, at home. Halifax
I was robbed by a man I picked up believing him to be gay. He played along at first then robbed me. M(44)
27 Verbal abuse, physical assault, over 5 years ago, on street, going to railway station. Sowerby.
Names called + stone thrown at me. I retaliated and made an ‘open’ scene in centre of town – had no trouble since! M(54)
29 Verbal abuse, within last five years, on street. Hudds.
Name Calling. M(28)
31 Intimidation, within last month on street. Hebden.
A Man in his car was being intimidating – just sat there shaking his head at us as we walked past, my partner and I. F(33)
39 Blackmail, over five years ago, home. Todmorden.
A partner went through personal letters, he extracted some from a lover from 40+ years ago and threatened to expose ex-lover to his wife unless I stopped writing to him and meeting him and his family. I was my ex-lovers best man and godfather to kids. M(64)
42 Verbal abuse, over 5 years ago, on street. Todmorden
Verbal abuse. M(56)
43 Verbal abuse, within last year, on street. Hebden
Group of youths name calling & abuse. F(30)
45 Damage to property/car/possessions, over five years ago, at home. Macclesfield.
Garden was vandalised & condom pinned to my front door M(37)
49 Damage to property/car/possessions, within last five years, at home. Blackburn.
Garden trashed, number plates ripped off two cars. F(44)
A1.3 Future Reporting
Additional comments from the respondents who said they would report in the future include:
Depending on the nature of the incident – whether I had proof that is was homophobic. New knowledge of anti-homophobia service providers/agencies. F(40)
If I felt it was serious enough & a threat to me or my partner. F(23)
I feel more confident about being gay now. M(54)
No one has the right to attack me 4 my sexuality. If we don’t report, then it’s not very likely anything will change. I’d do it for myself and others. F(50)
I feel that today I would receive a more sympathetic response. M(64)
In all my contacts with the police in the past, in various situations I have found them helpful. F(67)
I feel that if enough is reported it may eventually have an effect. F(44)
Additional comments from the respondents who said they may report in the future include:
Because we are gay and that don't treat us the same. F(14)
It would depend on the situation. F(27)
Depends on the severity of the crime. F(42)
If I felt it was severe enough. F(30)
Depends of severity of crime-I would want to be fairly certain that the police would take it seriously. F(44)
Importance of future reporting
Additional comments when they were asked why they feel it is important to report incidents to the police.
Those responding with ‘maybe’ to reporting incidents in the future:
For police awareness. F(23)
To get a clearer idea of level of support/resources needed to tackle the problem. F(30)
We all have a right to protection/redress under the law. Homophobic crime should not be invisible. F(44)
No because it always happens. F(14)
Those responding with ‘yes’ to reporting incidents in the future:
To raise the awareness of homophobic crime, it shouldn’t have to be tolerated! F(25)
Because in general heterosexual society does not recognise or take seriously the attacks we suffer, and it is a way to gain recognition and respect. F(44)
To aid the collection of data on attitudes/crime movement towards anti-homophobic law. F(40)
Homophobia needs to b recognised & acted upon. F(38)
The need to be counted. M(54)
Closer picture to reality. Show community is there. M(28)
A person has a right to live as he/she wants without harassment. M(58)
It's not somebody's right to attack the privacy or sexual preference of others in any circumstance. M(37)
Notes from plenary sessions of homophobic hate crime conference, Huddersfield, Wednesday, 7th march 2001
Took 5 years to build up. Began with 'speakout' project, which involved giving out mobile phones to LGB’s; went drastically wrong; someone absconded with money; community not trust police.
NAG conference in Brighton (national conference): raised profile. LG safety forum: police wanted to run it, now run by independent LGB group. Handed over 3rd party reporting to LGB forum.
Produced STOP leaflet, sent to LGB orgs: support for victims of hate crime.
Small numbers reporting, gradually increasing: spreading the word by mouth.
LOTS OF MISUNDERSTANDINGS
Victim Support offered support regardless of whether going to report to police plus help if want to report to police.
Local police kept lines of communication open and LGB’s did same (despite misunderstandings) and time-consuming. Doing other work in between meetings.
Police put in a hurried bid to the Home Office without consultation with LGB communities. Project got awarded lots of funding. Was going to be based in police station; LGB’s nearly left; all sat down again to negotiate.
Victim Support, Police, Domestic Violence, LGB’s, etc. Victim Support played major role looking after the interests of the victims, challenging the police. They acted as a 'broker'.
All three forums came together to talk about common problems (Race forum, LGB forum, Domestic Violence forum).
Police realised importance that could only communicate with LGB communities by going out to them, not through meetings.
LGB’s represented on anti-victimisation and advisory group.
Six month consultation; developed a full bid for 3 support workers (race, domestic violence, LGB - police funded). Plus Community development workers allocated to three fora; plus external advocates who support victims.
Acknowledged difficulty in getting out to diverse communities.
Brighton & Hove only started reporting in April 2001. Negotiated with the community.
Said not sure right way to put all three issues together. I checked out in the workshop: to do with fact that domestic violence far more progressed than others; plus sort of divide and rule.
Schools Out! National Legislation & Guidance
SCHOOL’S OUT! NATIONAL
[WORKING FOR LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSPERSON EQUALITY IN EDUCATION]
BM SCHOOL’S OUT! NATIONAL LONDON WC1N 3XX
Email email@example.com HTTP://www.schools-out.org.uk
Secretary: Steve Bonham phone 0116 251 0655
Celebrating Difference and Engineering Change
Working for the Rights and Perspectives of Lesbian, Gay Men and Bisexual People Everywhere
phone or fax 0207 635 0476 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
This briefing has been discussed with the Department for Education and Employment and checked by them for factual accuracy.
Permission is given for it to be reproduced for non-commercial circulation.
Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988
"A local authority shall not…promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship."
Even at the time that the Section was passed the Government made it very clear to all that listened that it applied to advice given by local authorities, but did not apply to schools themselves. The guidelines that accompanied it from the government, (Department of Environment, Circular 12/88) stated the following.
"Section 28 does not affect the activities of school governors, nor of teachers. It will not prevent the objective discussion of homosexuality in the classroom, nor the counselling of pupils concerned about their sexuality."
Nor does it. There have been no prosecutions under the section and many schools continue excellent work.
The Head Teacher of one such school said at the time on both radio and television:
"We do not treat lesbian and gay relationships as pretended family relationships, we treat them as real family relationships and will continue to do so."
(Head Teacher of a South London Comprehensive, 1988.)
The DfEE Draft Sex and Relationship Guidance,
March 2000, stated:
"Section 28 does not apply to schools and should not affect the delivery of sex and relationship education in schools. It does not affect the activities of school governors or of teachers. It does not prevent the objective discussion of homosexuality in the classroom, and schools can provide counselling, guidance, advice and support to pupils." (Paragraph A.10).
This exclusion was not repeated in the final version probably because they thought the section would be repealed by then
The Learning and Skills Act 2000
"Secretary of State must issue guidance designed to secure that when sex education is given to registered pupils at maintained schools
a) they learn the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and the bringing up of children, and
b) they are protected from teaching and materials which are *inappropriate having regard to the age and the religious and cultural background of the pupils concerned.
(1B) In discharging their functions under subsection (1) governing bodies and head teachers must have regard to the Secretary of State’s guidance."
‘Having regard to’ does not mean ‘adhere to’. It simply means that those issues must be considered when issues are dealt with, as good teachers have always been doing.
* See the information contained in the guidance.
The DfEE Sex and Relationship Guidance, July 2000, states
"There are strong and mutually supportive relationships outside marriage. Therefore pupils should learn the significance of marriage and stable relationships as key building blocks of community ands society. Care needs to be taken to ensure that there is no stigmatisation of children based on their home circumstances." (Introduction, Paragraph 4)
Silence about lesbian and gay families constitutes stigmatisation.
"Pupils need also to be given accurate information and helped to develop skills to enable them to understand difference and respect themselves and others and for the purpose also of preventing and removing prejudice." (Introduction, Paragraph 5)
Silence about lesbian and gay people fuels prejudice.
"It is up to schools to make sure that the needs of all pupils are met in their programmes. Young people whatever their developing sexuality, need to feel that sex and relationships education is relevant to them and sensitive to their needs. The Secretary of State is clear that teachers should be able to deal honestly and sensitively with sexual orientation, answer appropriate questions and offer support. There should be no direct promotion of sexual orientation. " (Section 1, Paragraph 30)
To make sure that no particular sexuality is promoted, schools must make sure that all are treated equally. Therefore silence on and the exclusion of lesbian, gay and bisexual issues from the curriculum would be *inappropriate.
The Sex and Relationship Guidance also deals with the issue of Homophobic Bullying
"Schools need to be able to deal with homophobic bullying. Guidance issued by the department, (Social Inclusion: Pupil Support Circular 10/99), dealt with the unacceptability of and emotional distress and harm caused by bullying in whatever form -- be it racial, as a result of a pupils appearance, related to sexual orientation or for any other reason."(Section 1, Paragraph 32)
The Local Government Act 2000 Section 104
Amended Section 28 by adding:
"nothing...shall be taken to prevent the head teacher or governing body of a maintained school, or a teacher employed by a maintained school, from taking steps to prevent any form of bullying".
Teachers must now challenge silence on homophobic bullying.
It is therefore now incumbent on teachers to
There is information, and a teachers pack called Tackling Homophobia Creating Safer Spaces that give teachers information, resources, lesson plans and strategies to help address homophobia on the School’s Out! Website on HTTP//:www.schools-out.org.uk Or contact CHRYSALIS.
Advice on addressing homophobic bullying can also be given by JAAHB
(Joint Action Against Homophobic Bullying) Tel. 01392 20 10 18