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Oxford's Homophobic Crime

June 20, 2005 12:00 AM

A new study has highlighted concerns that homophobic crime is a significant issue in Oxfordshire and that many offences go unreported to the police. A survey of gay people in Oxfordshire found that they have experienced high levels of homophobic harassment and violence throughout their lives. Many saw this abuse as a normal occurrence and it was found that many offences went unreported to the police.

The study, carried out by Oxford University researcher Somjen Frazer, is one of the most thorough pieces of research into homophobic crime conducted in Britain.

The research found that the reporting of homophobic verbal abuse was particularly uncommon, but that more serious incidents were more likely to be reported, except sexual assault.

People said their fear of homophobic crime made them wary of their behaviour in public places, at work, and at school.

"All uniformed police officers in Oxford are now trained to deal with homophobic crime," said PC Lucinda Bevan, Community and Race Relations Officer.

"We take all hate crime very seriously and we would encourage people to report any incidents, even of verbal abuse, because this can help us to build up a picture of when and where incidents are taking place and will help us to take action."

The Oxfordshire Homophobia Awareness Liaison Team (HALT), a partnership between the LGBT community, police, Oxfordshire County Council and Oxford City Council, has made significant progress over the last ten years in improving the relationship between police and the LGBT community.

"All Oxfordshire's Crime and Disorder Partnerships have a focus on tackling homophobic and other hate crime in their new three-year plans," said Bruce McLaren, Community Safety Manager at Oxfordshire County Council.

"As a key partner, the County Council is committed to supporting any measures to reduce hate crime and support people who are victims, and encourages people to report homophobic incidents."