ESSEX Police have launched a new campaign raising awareness of hate crime after a spike in incidents last year.

On the second day of National Hate Crime Awareness Week, the force is focusing on resources and support around hate crime linked to sexual orientation, including homophobia and biphobia.

Between September 2018 and August 2019 a total of 351 offences of hate crime targeting victim’s sexual orientation was reported.

This was an increase of almost 100 offences from the previous year, however there’s a rise in reports throughout the summer months, when the community celebrates Pride events across the county.

Common hate crimes related to a victim’s sexual orientation include malicious communications, such as someone shouting hateful words or acting in an aggressive manner in a public space, harassment and even physical assault.

Research by Stonewall suggests that four out of five members of the LGBT+ community will be targeted by hate crime offences relating to their gender identity or sexual orientation.

A spokesman of Essex Police said: “Officers from our Community Policing Teams and our Hate Crime Officers work closely with local LGBT+ support groups and charities to ensure that we can signpost victims of these offences to a safe space to talk about their experiences and get further assistance from the community.

“Just one example of these important organisations is Colchester-based charity, Outhouse East, who will celebrate their 40th anniversary this December.

“They are one of our many Hate Incident Reporting Centres across the county, so you can speak to them to report a hate crime if you’re not yet ready to speak to our officers.”

Outhouse East offers drop-in sessions to members of the community, a prominent LGBTQ+ youth group and even counselling.

If people don’t feel comfortable with reporting hate crime to the police in the first instance, there are other organisations they can contact, such as the Stop Hate UK, at 0800 138 1625, Stonewall at 08000 502020.

Galop, the LGBT+ anti-violence charity, can also be reached at 020 7704 2040 or Victim Support, a national charity who can signpost callers to organisations which can help at 0808 1781 694.

Reports of hate crime can be submitted online through the True Vision website at, through Essex Police’s website or by calling 101 or 999 in an emergency.