Context and characteristics of hostility towards sexual orientation and transgender identity

The CPS maintains a watching brief in relation to all relevant feedback and information to help support more effective prosecution of hate crime. This includes the nature of offending and its impact, awareness and understanding amongst communities concerned and the effectiveness of the CPS in response. In supporting this, the CPS works closely with community-focused organisations, criminal justice partners and others.

Our approach includes robust hate crime assurance and performance data regimes; regular dialogue at national and local level in relation to hate crime; assessing the results of internal and external research and sampling as well as feedback from the scrutiny of cases involving Local Scrutiny and Involvement Panels and National Scrutiny Panels.

External research confirms essential characteristics in terms of prevalence, the nature of offending, its impact and responses to it.

  • Research indicates that 62% - 73% of transgender people have experienced harassment and violence because they were identified as transgender. This included verbal abuse, threatening behaviour, physical and sexual assault.  
  • Despite high rates of hate crime or incidents towards transgender people, a high proportion goes unreported. 
  • A study in 2012, found that four fifths of respondents are fearful and avoided some situations with half saying that they avoided public toilets and gyms.
  • Research indicates that 91% of transgender boys and 66% of transgender girls experienced harassment at school, leading to depression and isolation. 
  • A report from 2015 found that fear of being treated poorly leads victims of hate crime to avoid reporting to authorities. According to the same research, 88% of LGBT people had experienced some form of hate incident.

A longitudinal survey from 2013 showed that:

  • One in ten experiencing homophobic crime was physically assaulted.
  • One in eight victims experienced unwanted sexual contact.
  • One in eight victims have had their home, vehicle or property vandalised.
  • 85% of LGB people who had suffered a hate crime or incident in the past three years reported being harassed, insulted or intimidated as part of it.
  • Two thirds of victims did not report it to anyone.
  • Two in five victims did not report it because they didn’t think it was serious enough to report.
  • One in fourteen victims was concerned about further homophobia from those to whom they would report it.
  • More than one in five of those who did report the crime or incident did not mention its homophobic nature.

Further reading