Being Lesbian, gay or bisexual is not a crime, but hate crime is. No one should have to put up with being harassed, bullied, victimised, or verbally or physically abused because of their sexuality.
Many people do not report homophobic crimes to the police. This may be because they feel uncomfortable admitting their sexuality or reporting the nature of the crime or because they fear a negative or unsympathetic reaction from the police.
However, the British Police forces have come along way over the last ten years in improving their knowledge of homophobic crimes and showing their commitment to treating victims, witnesses and reporters of crimes against homosexual community members, with respect sensitivity and in confidence.
Hate Crime hurts, it can be confusing and frightening. By reporting it, you many be able to prevent these crimes from happening to someone else.
Many of our local police forces have special campaigns in place. Wiltshire Police have got together with Wiltshire & Swindon Men’s Sexual Health to form The Wiltshire and Swindon Lesbian and Gay Policing Initiative. Avon & Somerset Police also have specially trained officers to deal with the reporting and handling of hate crime incidents.
There are a number of different options available to report hate crime to make it as easy as it possibly can. In an emergency always be sure to dial 999. All of our local police forces have LGBT Officer who have been specially trained, and you can find their contact details lower down this page.
There is also a facility to report an instance of Hate Crime on the ‘Report It’ website, who file the report with the relevant police force.
Some support groups and agencies also offer to deal with your report on your behalf :
In the Bristol area, S.A.R.I. in collaboration with Brandon Trust, Bristol Mind and LGBT Bristol have formed Bristol’s Hate Crime Services (BHCS). A one stop reporting line is available on 0800 171 2272. In Wiltshire, you can call Wiltshire Police on 0845 408 7000.
EACH, The Educational Action Challenging Homophobia group is a charity based in Bristol which offers a casework service and a confidential telephone actionline, available for any anyone who lives works or travels throughout the West of England that has been a target of homophobia, this actionline is open Monday to Friday 10am – 4pm call on freephone 0808 1000 143. Reporting can also be made online at www.eachaction.org.uk
Victim Support is the national charity which helps people affected by crime. They provide free and confidential support to help you deal with your experience, whether or not you report the crime. They operate a national victim supportline on 0845 30 30 900 and also have local centres across the PrideWest area. Initial contact for the whole of the South West can be made to their Victim Care Unit on 0845 456 6099 – lines are open Monday to Friday from 8am to 8pm and Saturday 9am to 5pm
Their website is available at www.victimsupport.org.uk/
Trained Police Officers
Contact your local trained police officer below, they will be able to provide you with advice, discuss what has happened to you or put you in touch with support groups and agencies.
|Bristol||0117 952 9793|
|South Gloucestershire||0117 945 4218|
|North Somerset||01934 638 117|
|Somerset East||01935 402 185|
|Somerset West||01823 363 067|
|Bath & North East Somerset||01225 842 479|
|Swindon||01793 891 387|
|North & West Wiltshire||01249 449 609|
|South & East Wiltshire||01722 435 209|