40% of gays experience physical or verbal abuse, survey finds.
Irish Times - Tues 3rd May
By Carol Coulter
More than four out of ten gay people have experienced verbal or physical abuse because of their sexuality, according to a report launched yesterday. Only one in five victims reported the attack to the Gardai, with a majority reporting no confidence in the force, or considering a complaint to be pointless.
The report is based on a survey of 1000 people in Dublin and the surrounding areas between April and July last year. The respondants were drawn from the gay community, contacted in gay clubs and pubs in the Dublin area or through groups and organisations. Out of the 1000 surveyed, 938 usable questionnaires were completed.
The report was compiled by Johnny, a self help health organisation for gay people. Amost half (over 400) of the respondants were in the 25-35 age group, with another 200 between 18 and 25. Almost 220 were lesbian and 580 were gay, with the remainder describing themselves as bisexual or heterosexual. For the purpose of the research, a hate crime was defined as "any physical or verbal attack where the victim is primarily targetted because of his or her perceived sexual orientation."
Asked if they had been a victim of such an attack, 41% or 378, said yes. Four out of ten also said they didn't feel safe walking the streets of Dublin, while 60% did feel safe. 86% said that more visible Garda patrolling would make them feel safer. More than two-thirds said they knew of someone else who had been a victim of such crime. Of those reported having been attacked, 67% were gay men and 22% were lesbians. The vast majority lived in Dublin.
About half of those attacked were the victims of verbal abuse, 60 were physically attacked and 80 were physically and verbally attacked. Predictabily as the survey was conducted in Dublin, the vast majority of the attacks took place there, with the postal districts Dublin 7 and Dublin 8 outnumbering all other areas for attacks.
Launching the report, the chief executive of the Equality Authority, Niall Crowley said it put in context the recent case taken by a lesbian couple in Cork against a public house which discriminated against them because of their sexual orientation. He said the report showed tha 74% of respondants did not feelsafe showing affection in public. He said schools were important places for children to learn about differences.