Community Safety: Support and information

LGBT Health and Wellbeing provides 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. We believe that every LGBT person has the right to live freely without the threat of hate crime. Don’t suffer in silence – we are here to help!

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 can also support you.

Services we offer

LGBT Helpline

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 on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 12pm – 9pm, on 0300 123 2523. For more information visit the LGBT Helpline page.

Remote Reporting

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 LGBT Health 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 happening 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.

Police Surgery

Our Edinburgh Police Surgery takes place at LGBT Health during the LGBT Drop-in on the first Monday of the month from 6.30-7.30pm. No appointment is necessary and you can seek advice, raise concerns around safety issues, report incidents or make any comments on policing in your area to local police officers. The setting is relaxed and informal and there is no need to set up an appointment in advance – just come along. We can also help you make contact with a police officer out with those times.

Counselling

We offer a free counselling service for LGBT people in Edinburgh. If you have been affected by hate crime and would like to speak with a qualified LGBT-friendly counsellor, let us know and we will place you on the waiting list. For more information or to request counselling, you can get in touch with Alison at alison@lgbthealth.org.uk or call her on 0131 652 3283.

Other support available in Edinburgh

LGBT Youth Scotland

The Citadel, 39-40 Commercial Street, Edinburgh EH6 6JD Tel: 0131 555 3940 We are here for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people, and know that being LGB or T can sometimes be difficult. We are committed to empowering young people and can provide support and advice if you are thinking about making a report to the police or can if you prefer make this report for you. We will respect your decisions and your confidentiality. LGBT Youth Scotland is working towards the inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people in the life of Scotland.

Gay Men’s Health

10a Union Street, Edinburgh EH1 3LU Tel: 0131 558 9444 Gay Men’s Health exists to improve the physical mental emotional, social and sexual health of all gay and bisexual men living in Edinburgh and the Lothians. We provide a free and confidential counselling service, and also a remote reporting service allowing you if you wish to make an anonymous report without direct police contact.

ROAM

Spittal Street Centre, 22-24 Spittal Street, Edinburgh EH3 9DU Tel: 0131 537 8300 ROAM provides a confidential service for men who have sex with men and male sex workers throughout Edinburgh and Lothian. Work is carried out in a variety of settings including chat rooms, cruising areas, drop in, saunas, clients’ homes and an outreach bus.

Gay Police Association

7 Chambers Street, Edinburgh Tel: 07776 471 871 National staff association that specifically represents the needs and interests of lesbian, gay and bisexual police employees in the United Kingdom.

Resources

If you want to find out more about hate crime, here are some helpful guides: