Seven in 10 councillors have experienced abuse and intimidation within the last 12 months, with one in 10 experiencing abuse frequently, according to the LGA’s latest councillor census.
A further 88 per cent of councillors who responded to an LGA call for evidence said they had experienced abuse or intimidation directed at them personally in relation to their role, either on social media or in person, with 76 per cent saying they had witnessed abuse.
Anecdotally, the call for evidence also found that some councillors were receiving abuse because of their protected characteristics, including women, ethnic minority and LGBTQIA+ councillors.
The LGA is calling on government to work with local authorities and partners to set up a working group to develop and implement an action plan to address the issue of abuse of local politicians and their safety, as part of its Debate Not Hate campaign.
Cllr James Jamieson, LGA Chairman, said: “Councillors are as much a part of the community as those they represent, and they should not expect to be subjected to any form of abuse because of their position.
“Debating and disagreeing with one another is an essential part of democracy, however abuse has no place in politics and stops residents from engaging in local government.
“We need to see concrete action to protect current councillors and ensure potential future councillors feel safe to stand for election.
“Anyone, regardless of their background or political affiliation, should feel safe and proud to represent their community.”