In the wake of alarming research confirming the severe vulnerability of the LGBTI community, a new platform has been launched by Love Not Hate to help victims anonymously report hate crimes.
The first of its kind website, www.report.lovenothate.org.za, allows individuals to log in and report any incidents that involve abuses of LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) individuals in South Africa.
Incidents can be reported by victims or witnesses, and they can range from hate speech, online-initiated crimes and verbal discrimination to violent attacks. The reporting can be anonymous and will be added to a map that will visually display where incidents have taken place.
The reports will be used by Love Not Hate to monitor hate crimes and understand where they happen, adding to an evidence base that can be used to tackle the scourge through intervention and awareness programmes and lobbying of government.
Importantly, victims can also choose to request assistance, whether it be counselling or health and legal support, which will be facilitated by Love Not Hate.
“The reality is that many victims of LGBT hate crimes are afraid to report incidents. They may fear being forced to come out or secondary victimisation, even from the authorities,” says Lerato Phalakatshela, Hate Crime Manager at OUT and spokesperson for the Love Not Hate campaign.
“Through the Love Not Hate Reporting Site, victims can still have a voice, and tell their stories anonymously, while also helping civil society better understand the location, frequency and types of hate crimes.”
Phalakatshela adds: “It’s an opportunity for the LGBTI community to play a part in helping improve the safety of other potential victims and to help reduce hate crimes in South Africa.”
A recently released study by the Hate Crimes Working Group (HCWG) found that members of the LGBT community are among the most vulnerable individuals when it comes to hate-based incidents in South Africa.
According to the researchers, 35% of the cases they documented were perpetrated against lesbian or gay victims and 1 percent against bisexual victims, while 8% of victims identified as transgender.
Love Not Hate’s own 2016 research found that 41% of LGBT people in South Africa know someone who’s been murdered due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. The study also found that 7% of LGBT people had been punched, hit, kicked or beaten; 7% experienced violence from a family member; and 6% had been raped or sexually abused.
To report a hate crime incident on the Love Not Hate Reporting Site please go to www.report.lovenothate.org.za.