Hate Crime Report Rise In Leeds Is 'A Good Thing'
7 January 2019, 11:22 | Updated: 7 January 2019, 11:23
Police say the LGBT community in Leeds is reporting more hate crimes than ever and that's a good thing
Reports from the transgender community in particular have more than tripled here since 2016.
West Yorkshire Police Hate Crime Co-ordinator, Kev Brighton said: 'People are getting confident and we're dealing with it.
There are still victims out there - tell us, we just need to know where it's happening and build a bigger picture'
Rachel Smith started her transition in 2012.
She'd moved to Leeds to start her new life and became a member of the Angels of Freedom Initiative - a group that supports the LGBT community.
She's spoken of some of the abuse she's seen since becoming a woman: 'It's soul destroying, it is, it hits you through your core.
People have lost their lives because of the incessant hate that they receive on a daily basis.
Someone threatened me with a knife, they were going to stab me.
My friends, have had the same issues - it's because of their gender identity'.
Police say they have been making tackling hate crime within the LGBT community a priority.
Tonight - a meeting's being held between them and the Officers at the 'LGBT+ Hate Crime scrutiny panel'.
It's one of many regular meetings around Leeds - to make sure the community feels supported and the police are doing their best job.
Rob Wilson started the Angels of Freedom Initiative, he says it is working: 'We know that it's happening, It's always been happening - people are just getting more confident in reporting it.
They don't just take it as the norm anymore - they will ask for help and support and challenge - to stop this from happening to them'.
If you feel like you need help, The Angels of Freedom Initiative say contact them, and they'll direct you to support.