Nearly half of reported hate crimes were from the period leading up to the Marriage for All vote last September. Keystone / Salvatore Di Nolfi
The number of hate crimes reported by the LGBT+ helpline rose 50% in 2021. Concerns are high levels of underreporting are renewing calls for a nationwide reporting system for hate crimes.
This content was published on May 17, 2022 - 11:10 May 17, 2022 - 11:10 Keystone-SDA/jdp
There were 92 reports of anti-LGBTQ hate crimes in 2021 according to the latest hate crime report External link released on Tuesday by the lesbian organization Switzerland (LOS), the Transgender Network Switzerland (TGNS) and Pink Cross. This is 50% more than the previous year.
Nearly half of the reported cases are from the four months ahead of the Marriage for All referendum campaign. Last September, nearly two-third of Swiss voted in favour of granting full marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples. The rise in hate crimes during the lead up to the vote can be explained in part by the higher visibility of LGBTQ groups and supporters.
About 80% of those reporting had been insulted or verbally abused, and about 30% had experienced physical violence. The latter is an increase on 2020 when 18% of cases included physical violence. There was a noticeable increase in reports from young people (under 22 years old) and from trans people.
The data is based on the LGBT+ HelplineExternal link which launched in 2016 to catalogue hate crimes reported via an online form, by telephone, during face-to-face sessions or by e-mail. However, advocacy groups warn that this is only the tip of the iceberg given high levels of unreported hate crimes. Less than 20% of the hate crimes were reported to the police. Only the city of Zurich and canton Fribourg have started reporting data on hate crimes.
“The number of unreported cases is still extremely high, not only in places where the community is more visible, such as the city of Zurich, but also in the countryside,” said Roman Heggli, managing director of the Pink Cross.“Only a national reporting procedure can ensure representative data – a political concern that LGBT umbrella organizations have been pursuing for years.”
The network of advocacy groups has called for a national action plan against LGBTQ hostility in the upcoming parliamentary session that begins at the end of May.
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