Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People: Safety Report

Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People: Safety

This week, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service releases statistics on the reports and charges raised for hate crimes in the past year across Scotland.

Today, LGBT Youth Scotland is launching a new report on Life in Scotland for LGBT Young People: Safety. The report is based on a survey with LGBT young people, ages 13-25 across Scotland and focuses on their awareness of rights under hate crime legislation, confidence in the police and criminal justice system, and their feelings of safety in the community.

The survey results show that LGBT young people in Scotland still experience homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in public spaces. While progress has been made in regards to raising awareness of hate crime, not all LGBT young people are aware of which actions may be classified as criminal or how to report.

·Half (50.2%) of LGBT young people said that they were aware of what their rights are under hate crime legislation.

·53.8% of all LGBT respondents said they would feel confident in reporting a crime they experienced to the police and 48.2% of transgender young people were confident to report.

·Bisexual women were the least likely to feel confident reporting a hate crime (46.3%) yet also the second most likely group to feel supported by the police (67.9%).

·Only half (51.8%) of transgender young people felt safe using public transportation.


‘When people often couldn't decide if they thought I was male or female I felt very unsafe. I still do occasionally because my gender expression isn't stereotypically male so I'm often read as gay.’

LGBT young people were also uncertain how reports are dealt with by the police. Many felt that it would improve their confidence to not only see posters raising awareness of hate crime, but to receive information on what happens after a report is taken.

‘If there were more public examples of how the police dealt with hate crime and set an example that it is not acceptable.’
Encouragingly, there seems to be a causal relationship between feeling safe and supported by the police and feeling confident to report hate crime. This shows the importance of strong community engagement in building trust and understanding of the reporting process.

·71% of those who say they feel safe and supported by the police say they would feel confident in reporting a hate crime they experienced, much higher than the overall rate of 53.8%.

‘In Scotland, we are fortunate to have strong hate crime legislation that is inclusive of transgender identities yet the safety report shows a gap in knowledge and confidence for transgender young people in particular. When young people know about their rights, and have confidence in the process, they are more likely to be willing to report. An increase in reported crimes since the introduction of the legislation is certainly positive, yet more must be done to ensure that LGBT young people feel safe in their communities, understand their rights and how to report discrimination and harassment, and have the confidence to report’ (Fergus McMillan, Chief Executive).

Notes to Editor:
1/ LGBT Youth Scotland is the largest youth and community-based organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Scotland: www.lgbtyouth.org.uk
2/LGBT Youth Scotland is a company limited by guarantee (No 244805) with charitable status (SC024047). Registered at 40 Commercial Street, Edinburgh, EH6 6J
4/ Images available upon request.