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Lesbians, gay men and transgender people are less likely to receive help than an undescribed “someone” when they are victimised, a recent survey conducted in 10 EU member states found. Respondents in Lithuania are most willing to react against violence targeting lesbians, gay men or transgender victims, while those in Bulgaria are least likely to intervene.
The survey, commissioned by the Polish LGBT organisation Lambda Warsaw on behalf of the Call It Hate project consortium, asked respondents in 10 EU states to evaluate how likely they would be to react (either directly, by personally intervening, or indirectly, by calling the police) if they saw a lesbian, a gay man or a transgender person being pushed and slapped on the street by a stranger. For comparison, respondents were asked about the likelihood of intervention in cases of attacks on members of other groups that are vulnerable to violence, as well as on an undescribed “someone”.
In all countries, respondents were most likely to intervene in the case of an assault on a person with a disability (mean 8.29 out of 10). The likelihood of intervention in the case of an assault against a black person (mean 7.21) was not significantly different than the likelihood of intervention in the reference case (mean 7.26). Lesbian, gay and transgender victims were least likely to receive help (mean 7.05). Within this group, lesbians were most likely to be helped by witnesses (mean 7.38). The probability of intervention on behalf of transgender (mean 6.84) or gay victims (mean 6.93) is significantly lower.
– People most readily declare that they would intervene if they perceive the victim as weak, vulnerable. This is visible in the case of people with disabilities – explains Dr Piotr Godzisz from Lambda Warsaw, the principal investigator in the project. – In the case of lesbians, it seems that the negative attitude towards their minority sexual orientation is countered by the perception of their gender-related vulnerability.
There are significant differences about the likelihood of reaction to crime if the victim is lesbian, gay or transgender among countries included in the research. Lithuania stands out as the country whose residents are most willing to react to violence against lesbians, gay men or transgender victims (mean 8.05). The rank is closed by Bulgaria, whose population is least likely to intervene (mean 5.34).
There is a strong correlation between the likelihood of intervention and the levels of empathy for lesbian gay and trans people as victims of crimes.
The survey was carried out on representative samples of societies in 10 EU states (Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom) with varying levels of social acceptance of LGBT people and different legal approaches to hate crimes. The fieldwork was conducted in 2018 by an international consortium of polling agencies managed by Kantar Poland. The survey is part of the international research project Call It Hate, led by the University of Brescia (Italy) and Lambda Warsaw (Poland) and co-funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme 2014-2020.
The whole report Awareness of Anti-LGBT Hate Crime in the European Union may be downloaded from the Call It Hate project website.