A teenage girl has been indecently assaulted as she walked in a wooded area in Midlothian.
Violent Homophobic Attacks Up In The North East
There’s been a significant rise in the number of violent homophobic attacks in the North East, an exclusive Heart investigation has found.
Police figures given to Heart under the Freedom of Information Act show there have been more than 400 physical attacks on gay people in the region since 2010 – with 176 of those coming between January 2015 and the end of June of this year.
That means since the start of last year, there has been an average of ten violent homophobic hate crimes a month, which is one every three days.
County Durham is the region’s black-spot, with 187 physical attacks on gay, lesbian or bisexual people in the last five years.
Heart’s also found there were just fewer than 900 reports of homophobic hate crimes to police in the north-east since 2010, which includes violence as well as verbal abuse and threatening behaviour.
399 of those crimes came between January 2015 and June 2016 – which is an average of 22 a month.
Jamie Thompson, from Darlington, was targeted with homophobic abuse on a night-out, he says it made him feel extremely vulnerable:
Stuart Hatton, from South Shields, is Mr Gay UK – he wants more done to tackle this abuse after learning of Heart’s findings.
A Stockton man was set on fire while walking through grounds of a church earlier this year, which was later investigated as a homophobic hate crime.
No one was ever arrested.
Inspector Phil Morris from Cleveland Police said:
“Clearly it’s intolerable and attacks of this nature are very rare and on the highest spectrum we see.”
“We recognise under-reporting is an issue.”
“Sometimes alcohol is a factor but that’s not an excuse – we don’t tolerate it.”
If you need advice after being a victim of homophobic abuse, you're advised to contact Gay Advice Durham and Darlington.
New measures, like barriers and road closures that could stop vehicles entering the area outside of St James' Park, are being brought in ahead of the first home game of the season
One of the main routes into and out of Newcastle will be closing for several months
The funeral of Sunderland superfan Bradley Lowery has taken place in County Durham.
Most Viewed Pictures On Heart
Recently Played Tracks
To listen live, choose your preferred station:
Now playing: The best feel good music
Deposit £10 to get a £40 Welcome Bonus - That's £50 to play bingo, slots and more!*
Over 50 tracks to make you feel-good. New album out now...
Find your local four day weather report here.
Make Heart the soundtrack to your day and you could be a winner with great prizes up for grabs throughout the day.