Zoteria: New app launches to help report and tackle LGBTQ+ hate crimes
Stonewall: A hate incident is any act that someone perceives to be motivated by hostility or prejudice towards a part of a person’s identity. It could include – but is not limited to – verbal abuse, harassment, physical attacks, threats of violence, and online abuse. When a hate incident involves a criminal offence, it is classified as a hate crime.
Vodafone Foundation, in partnership with U.K. charities Stonewall and Galop, has launched a new app, Zoteria, designed to help LGBTQ+ people report hate crimes and access support from relevant organisations.
Users will be able register incidents confidentially, on behalf of themselves or someone else, and Zoteria will provide the option for Galop – the anti-abuse charity – to reach out to victims and provide a safe space to talk.
For user safety, and to avoid concern over outing, Zoteria “hides” behind a quotes app and has a number of safety features in-built, such as a secret mode and quick exit button.
It can be hard to know what to do if you experience or witness LGBT+ hate crime. That’s where Zoteria, a brand-new LGBT+ hate crime app comes in!
If you #FlagIt with Zoteria and ask for support, the request comes through to Galop, so we can offer help, if it’s needed 🧵 pic.twitter.com/1wd4i39EUU
— Galop (@GalopUK) December 13, 2022
Recent Home Office figures suggest that anti-LGBT+ hate crime reports in the UK have grown at twice the rate of other forms of hate crime for the last two years.
Since last year, hate crimes based on sexual orientation have increased by 41%, and hate crimes against transgender people has risen by 56% in England and Wales.
However, most hate crimes still go unreported, and a 2021 survey by Galop showed only one in eight LGBTQ+ people surveyed had reported their most recent experience of hate crime to the police.
Over half of respondents said they felt the police wouldn’t do anything, and almost a third of non-reporters said they mistrusted or were fearful of the police.
And for those who do report incidents, three in five LGBTQ+ people who had experienced hate crimes said they wanted and needed help, while only one in five said they were able to access support.
Welcome to Zoteria, a new LGBTQ+ hate crime reporting app 📱
If you see or experience LGBTQ+ hate crime, #FlagIt with Zoteria!
Together we can make our communities safer for all 🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️
— Stonewall (@stonewalluk) December 13, 2022
“Galop has been supporting LGBTQ+ victims of hate crime for decades, and we know that the official figures only represent a small proportion of what our community experiences on a daily basis in the UK,” said Leni Morris, CEO of Galop.
“Zoteria will link LGBTQ+ people who need support directly to our services, run by LGBTQ+ people.
“This app, alongside our other work, including the National LGBT+ Hate Crime Helpline, helps get us a bit closer to a future where all LGBTQ+ people in the UK have access to specialist support in the wake of abuse and violence.”
Anonymised data from towns and cities will be available to local authorities to ensure they can better understand the number and types of hate crimes taking place in their areas.
This information will also highlight the specific issues faced by ethnic minorities, which have been proven to face barriers in accessing support after experiencing racism and/or homophobia.
Nancy Kelley, Chief Executive at Stonewall, said: “Hate crime against LGBTQ+ people is rising sharply in many countries around the world.
“For years, Stonewall has worked on tackling hate crime by building systems to gather evidence to advocate for change and to support survivors in over 15 countries.
“Zoteria is a leading example of how corporates can use their technology and networks to advance LGBTQ+ rights, and we are immensely proud to partner with Vodafone and Galop on this innovative app that will take us one step closer to a world where all LGBTQ+ people are safe and free to be ourselves.”
Download Zoteria by clicking here. There’s no need to register – you can simply have the app on your phone and, if needed, use as a guest.
You will be asked if you would like to receive support from the LGBT+ anti-abuse charity Galop. If you choose yes, Galop will reach out to you by phone, SMS, or by email and provide support as required.