The LGBT Centre for Health and Wellbeing has a range of services to promote safety in our communities. If you have been a victim of a hate crime, or would simply like information on keeping safe, we are here to support you.
What is hate crime?
A hate crime is any crime where the victim's disability, race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity is the motivation behind the crime. As LGBT people, we have the right to live our lives without fear of being harmed in any way due to our sexual orientation or gender identity. So do our family and friends.
Unfortunately, many LGBT people still experience hate crime. The good news is that the law is on your side. In March 2010, the Offences (Aggravation by Prejudice) Act in Scotland was extended to protect LGBT and disabled people. This means that if you have been victim of hate crime, you have the right to prosecute and the police will support you.
Some examples of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crimes and incidents include :
Emotional harm : for example name-calling, verbal abuse, hurtful comments being made about you, being spat at and bullying.
Physical and/or sexual harm : including being hit, beaten, pushed, grabbed, groped or kicked.
Having your home or belongings targeted with graffiti, vandalism, or theft.
Your friends and family being abused or targeted because of your sexual orientation or gender identity.
Being threatened or intimidated in any way.
Any of these crimes committed against someone because they are believed to be LGB or T or because they spend time with people who are LGB or T.
Any incident which is not a crime, but is homophobic, biphobic or transphobic.
Hate crime can happen on the street, in your home, on a night out, and at the workplace. It doesn't matter who has targeted you, or where you are at the time - it is unacceptable, it is illegal, and we can help you challenge it.
If you are an LGBT person who has been targeted due to your disability, race or religion, we will support you.
Services we offer
Our helpline offers emotional support and practical information for victims of LGBT hate crime. You can also remote report any incident and we will help guide you through the process. The helpline is open every Wednesday between 12.30 - 7pm and can be reached by calling 0131 556 4049.
If you have experienced a hate crime and you do not want to speak to the police directly, you can report it through us at the Centre and we‘ll do the rest. You can decide whether or not you want the incident investigated further, and it is your choice whether you want to leave your name and personal details or not. It is important that all hate crime is reported so that the police can monitor the areas where hate crime is rising and help make our community safer.
Information and support
Our staff can provide individual support if you have experienced hate crime, including talking through what happened, personal safety tips and reporting options and other sources of support. We are here for you when you need us. Call George on 0131 652 3281 for support.
Our Police Surgery takes place at the Centre during the Drop-in on the first Monday of the month from 6.30-7.30pm. This offers the opportunity to seek advice, raise concerns around safety issues, report incidents or make any comments on policing in your area to Cath Duguid from Lothian and Borders Police Safer Communities department. The setting is relaxed and informal and there is no need to set up an appointment in advance - just come along.
Community Safety events
At the Centre we host many community safety events. These events provide practical advice and safety tips for the LGBT community.
Keep an eye on our quarterly programs which are available in the Centre and across Edinburgh for news on these events. Alternatively, sign up to our monthly Village Voices newsletter on our mailing list section of the website and be kept up to date. Coming up in the Jan-Mar programme:
Handling Verbal Abuse Monday 6.30-7.30pm, 28th January (within Drop-in)
Discuss examples of verbal homophobia, biphobia & transphobia and consider the best ways to respond. In partnership with Lothian & Borders Police.