Figures show an increase in the number of transphobic hate crimes in Dorset.

The number of transphobic hate crimes reported in Dorset rose markedly over the past five years, rising from three in the 2013/14 period to 15 in 2017/18.

The statistics, which come from a Freedom of Information request submitted to Dorset Police, show a consistent rise through this period, with seven hate crimes reported in 2014/15 and 2015/16 and 12 reported in 2016/17.

A spokesman for Educational Action Challenging Homophobia (EACH) said: “Please have the courage to report it – even if only anonymously. Dorset Police and the Crown Prosecution Service are eager to be fully informed about all crimes and incidents especially where this can help them establish ‘hotspots’ of crime by geography or time of day so the Police may target their resources appropriately.

“Seeking guidance from other trans or gender variant individuals, or gender identity organisations, can be a useful source of advice, reassurance and inspiration.”

The spokesman also commented that a number of factors can skew hate crime figures. They said that many individuals have concerns about reporting hate crimes to the authorities out of fear of not being taken seriously, and also claimed that sometimes authorities might incorrectly record transphobic crimes as homophobic or anti-social behaviour and that often behaviour may not be recognised as transphobic.

As well as the hate crime figures, the Freedom of Information request also revealed that the number of transphobic hate incidents (non-criminal hateful actions) is also on the rise. Five incidents occurred in 2013/14, seven in 2014/15 and three in 2015/16, after which there was a sharp rise to 14 incidents each in 2016/17 and 2017/18.

A spokesman for Wessex Crown Prosecution Service said: “The CPS recognises that hate crimes can have a disproportionate effect on the victim because they are being targeted for a personal characteristic. Not only does this impact the individual victim it can also significantly affect the wider community. As a result the CPS considers it vitally important to prosecute all hate crimes effectively.”

James Burnham, Hate Crime Lead for CPS Wessex said, “I firmly believe that no one should tolerate transphobic abuse and would encourage all victims to report this disgusting behaviour to the police.”

Transphobia is negative attitudes, feelings or actions toward transgender or transsexual people.