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Statement from Belong To re Recorded Increases in Hate Crimes

Belong To, the national organisation supporting LGBTQ+ youth in Ireland, is deeply concerned, but sadly not surprised, at the reported 29% increase in hate crimes and hate-related incidents in Ireland. The figures show that targeting on the basis of sexual orientation was the second-highest recorded form of hate crimes and hate-related incidents.

Our recent research reveals that 87% of LGBTQ+ young people have seen or experienced anti-LGBTQ+ harassment online. We have increasingly seen this pattern of online hate translate to real-world violence against Ireland’s LGBTQ+ community. The young people we support through our youth groups and frontline service have told us that they are fearful of being visibly LGBTQ+, and have asked for self-defence workshops.

To address this spike in violence, the Criminal Justice (Incitement to Violence or Hatred and Hate Offences) Bill must be enacted as a matter of urgency, accompanied by comprehensive actions to tackle the root causes of hate.