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Attacks on gays and lesbians

The charity Stonewall has commissioned the first comprehensive national survey of homophobic crime. Stonewall estimate that there are 3.6 million lesbian and gay people currently living in Britain. This report reveals the extent of the abuse that they face on a daily basis. The findings were published on the 26th June 2008. The report showed that one in five (20%) of all lesbian and gay people have been victims of homophobic aggression and violence over the past three years.

The report analysed the experience of more than 1,700 lesbian, gay and bisexual people. 1 in 6 of the victims had been physically assaulted, 1 in 8 had been subjected to unwanted sexual contact and almost 9 out of 10 had experienced homophobic insults and harassment.

One of the worst findings of the report was that 75% of the victims did not report these crimes. People may not report crimes due to embarrassment, fear of reprisals or because they do not think they will be taken seriously. Stonewall’s Chief Executive said that ‘It’s entirely unacceptable in 2008 that anyone should live in fear of attack and abuse simply because of who they are’. You must report the offence!

If you have suffered from physical injuries or psychological injuries as a result of an attack or harassment then it is important that you report the matter to the police as soon as possible and assist them in any enquiries they need to make, you must also seek urgent medical assistance for your injuries either from your GP or from Accident & Emergency. Then get legal advice.

You can obtain compensation in three ways. Firstly, the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority can make an award for the injuries which you have sustained and any other long term losses like Loss of Earnings or having to pay for your own treatment. Secondly if you know the person who has attacked you is convicted of the offence then you can claim compensation off them through the Criminal Courts. Thirdly, if the attacker has the ability to pay compensation to you then you could sue the perpetrators in the Civil Court.

For a CICA claim you only have two years to file your application. For a civil claim you have 6 years, so do something about it soon.

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