Anti-LGBT attacks rising sharply in Spain

235 in 6 months; 75% of victims do not report it to police

29 July, 10:48

    A same-sex couple legally married in Spain A same-sex couple legally married in Spain

    (ANSAmed) - MADRID - Spain, a frontrunner in recognizing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights and same-sex civil unions, is widely believed to be a place where sexual orientation and identity are not a reason for concern on the part of security forces and public opinion. The reality is different, however, as evinced from the number of hate crimes recorded between 2013 and 2014 by the police and Guardia Civil. According to a report soon to be released and discussed on Monday by the radio station Cadena Ser, anti-LGBT attacks are frequent than those stemming from racism or xenophobia or those targeting the disabled.

    In the first six months of 2014 alone, some 235 anti-LGBT attacks were recorded. However, according to the report, the number is but a small fraction of those that have actually occurred, since 75% of the victims do not report the incidents out of fear or shame, said the special prosecutor for hate crimes and discrimination in Catalonia, Miguel Angel Aguilar, who called for attacks to be reported to the authorities. In 2013 anti-LGBT attacks were the most numerous of the categories cited above, with 452 cases of abuse, acts of aggression, bodily harm or threats were ascertained. The figures from the first six months of this year confirm a rising trend of incidents originating in hate due to sexual orientation or identity, according to the report. The report covers a wide range of discriminatory conduct including acts of homophobia, racism, xenophobia, discrimination towards the disabled and those on the basis of religious belief.

    The Spanish LGTM network, COLEGAS, has asked for a law on equal treatment and non-discrimination, which would result in harsher sentences for those behind this type of attack. ''We are pleased that this type of crime is finally being counted, as it was not previously included in official statistics,'' said Paco Ramirez, head of LGBT COLEGAS. ''Even if between 60 and 90% of victims do not report the attacks, according to the EU's Agency of Fundamental Rights.'' He added that ''many do not report them as they think that perpetrators will end up not being punished or will receive a minimum sentence, or due to a fear of retaliation, as well as due to hostility or lack of interest shown by some of the police in relation to this type of crime. Then, there is also the fear of speaking about the fact that they are homosexual to their family members if they haven't already,'' Ramirez said. To curb homophobic attacks, LGTB COLEGAS has sent a proposal to the to the Secretary of State for Security for specific training for the police to stop and deal with this type of attack and to help the victims. (ANSAmed).

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