A transgender teenager has been treated in hospital after having their face cut by a group of youths.
Police say the group approached the victim on a footpath in Witham, Essex, on Saturday – the day before the annual Trans Day of Visibility.
The group verbally abused the victim before cutting their face.
The teenager managed to get to safety and was taken to hospital for treatment but a search of the area afterwards revealed no trace of the attackers or weapon, officers said.
Essex Police said the incident, which is being treated as a hate crime, happened at about 3.50pm.
Sunday is International Trans Day of Visibility, which celebrates transgender people and raises awareness of discrimination.
Officers are appealing for information to help identify the attackers, who are believed to be three teenage boys aged between 14 and 15.
They were seen in Spa Road Recreation Ground with a push bike from about 3.50pm to 4.15pm, before walking up Spa Road in the direction of the Co-op.
One was described as white, around 5ft 6ins, with black hair and “significant acne” on his face.
He was wearing a black hooded top with a white or yellow top underneath it.
Two in five trans people have experienced a hate crime or incident because of their gender identity over the course of a year, according to Stonewall’s 2018 Trans Report.
The report also found hate crime against trans people is significantly underreported, with four in five choosing not to notify police.
Superintendent Tom Simons said: “We will not tolerate hateful incidents like this in Essex and I would like to commend the victim for reporting this traumatic incident.
“My officers are working diligently to try and identify those responsible for this attack.”
:: Anyone with information should call Braintree police station on 101 quoting the crime reference number 42/50122/19, or they can remain anonymous by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Advice on the Essex Police website says victims of hate crime can call 999 – or 101 in a non-emergency – or report through Hate Incident Reporting Centres (HIRCs) online at www.report-it.org.uk.
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