Beating bullying: How England and Wales are combating LGBT hate crimes in schools

Yesterday was the launch date of a new campaign designed to tackle homophobic and transphobic abuse in schools in England and Wales. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), responsible for prosecuting criminal cases in England and Wales, released a resource pack for teachers. The resource pack includes classroom lesson plans about the consequences of hate crimes and the effects of stereotypes and prejudice.

Chief Crown Prosecutor for the CPS in North West, Nazir Afzal, oversaw the development of this resource pack and said:

"Targeting someone because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is totally unacceptable. Such abuse attacks people's right to feel safe and confident about themselves. We want young people to become more alive to the fact that not only are hate crimes particularly nasty and unpleasant, they are also illegal and committing such offences can have serious consequences."

Around 39,000 hate crimes based on the victim's sexual orientation take place each year, according to the Crime Survey for England and Wales. The new lesson plans are being distributed with the hopes of teaching students the severity of homophobic and transphobic bullying, both for the victims and the perpetrators.

However, some worry that because the use of the resource pack is voluntary, many teachers will not bring these important lessons into their classrooms. Regardless, LGBT students in England and Wales see this campaign as a good start to wiping out homophobia and transphobia in schools.

Read more at BBC Newsbeat.