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Today we are launching the findings of our hate crime survey.

The results make stark reading:

  • 73% of alternative subculture hate crime is not reported;
  • 27% of those subjected to hate crime have experienced suicidal feelings;
  • 80% of respondents experience at least one form of hate crime on a regular or occasional basis.

In 2022, the Sophie Lancaster Foundation conducted the largest survey ever undertaken to find out how hate crime is affecting the daily lives of alternative people. Sixteen years after Sophie died, we still get emails and calls every week about bullying, harassment and assaults. Parents write in to say, “I’m worried my child is going to be another Sophie”. We created a steering group with top academics and hate crime experts to gather empirical data showing the true effects of hate crime on the alternative community.

The Law Commission stated in their Hate Crime Review, published in December 2021, that there was no evidence that people from alternative subcultures were being targeted for hate crime and there was no need to extend protection this this group. Well, the evidence is here.

What are people experiencing?

  • 71% have been regularly or occasionally verbally abused
  • 87% have been threatened or harassed in person
  • 56% have been physically attacked

How does it make them feel?

  • 84% Made me feel anxious
  • 69% Made me avoid certain areas or routes
  • 37% Made me change my appearance/the way I dress
  • 27% Made me feel suicidal
  • 27% Made me want to move from my home

What is the situation with Hate Crime Reporting?

  • 73% of respondents have never reported their hate crime
  • 29% said they didn’t think anyone would take it seriously
  • 13% stated they did not know who to speak to
  • 12% said nobody could have done anything to help

You can read the findings of the full Alternative Subculture Hate Crime Survey here and take a look at the Sophie Lancaster Foundation Commentary, which outlines the background to the survey and our commitment to do all we can to change the situation. Our Commentary explains in more detail what needs to happen next, including the development of stronger partnerships with the police and justice system and consultation with the alternative community on what needs to be done to encourage and support hate crime reporting.

This is huge news, as it is the first time that this data has been truly quantified.  The survey clearly reveals the levels of abuse, harassment and violence that people are subjected to because of their subcultural status. It absolutely makes the case why alternative subculture hate crime should be treated in exactly the same way as the monitored strands.

We know so many people find joy, community and genuine life affirmation from being part of an alternative subculture and to be demonised, harassed and victimised for no more than being yourself is appalling. It is even harder when people who are in a position to help, are influenced by the same negative stereotyping of alternative people and quote the victims innocent ‘choices’ and not the perpetrator’s actions.

We will continue to consult the community in our efforts to improve the situation. If you suffer from Hate Crime, please do report it; our Commentary document has the details of who to contact. Thank you for the trust you place in us, we are always humbled at your love and support.

The Sophie Team

Thanks to those from the hate crime sector and to academic partners who have supported us in this research –
Professor Jon Garland and Moslem Boushehrian, the University of Surrey; Mike Ainsworth, SLF Trustee and National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime; Dr Steve Minton, University of Plymouth; Professor Neil Chakraborti, Centre for Hate Studies, University of Leicester; Rose Simkins, Stop Hate UK; Kari Berg and Nik Carlsson, RTSI, (Right to Subcultural Identity, Sweden).