Hate on the Rise

A New App Hopes to Curb Anti-LGBTQ+ Hate Crimes

A new UK app, Zoteria, aims to help users report anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes while providing support for victims. Zoteria offers a confidential space for users to report hate crime incidents on behalf of themselves and others, and the app’s developers hope their efforts will improve the accuracy of hate crime statistics overall.

Zoteria is developed by Vodafone Foundation in partnership with LGBTQ+ nonprofits Galop and Stonewall UK. In addition to reporting a hate crime, users can access educational resources, community events, and counseling support through the app. While Zoteria does not connect users directly to police, anonymized data from reports will be made available in order to create an accurate picture of hate crime occurrences.

Zoteria comes out amidst a rise in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and hate crimes. A recent report by the UK government’s Home Office found that hate crimes in general have increased while anti-trans hate crimes have risen by 56%, the largest rise out of any group. At the same time, a survey by Galop found that most hate crimes go unreported, with only 1 in 8 LGBTQ+ respondents filing a police report.

Zoteria is looking to change that through a space that is managed by LGBTQ+ people rather than police. Leni Morris, CEO of Galop, said in a statement per Gay Times, “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.

“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.”

Nancy Kelley, Chief Executive at Stonewall, added, “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.”

Zoteria is available for free in the UK on the App Store and Google Play.

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