A major new initiative to tackle hate crime has been announced by the LGBT Consortium today. It brings together a partnership of 31 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) organisations from across England and Wales. Leicester LGBT Centre is a founding member. Funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the partnership will aim to increase the reporting of LGBT hate crimes and incidents and improve the support available to those targeted. Equality and Human Rights Commissioner Evelyn Asante-Mensah said: “Everyone in Britain should feel confident and sufficiently empowered to recognise and report incidents of hatred, hostility and harassment and yet we know that for LGB and T people this is very often not the case.” “It is difficult to tackle crimes that are not reported. Therefore, addressing under-reporting is crucial to the broader aim of reducing these incidents and creating a fairer and safer society.” Working across a diverse range of geographies in England and Wales, the project will focus on rural areas, and local need. This community led project aims to empower LGBT people to stand up against hate crime through education, building strong partnerships and improving assistance for people impacted by hate crime issues across the country.
Nik Noone, Chief Executive at Galop said, “Evidence suggests that roughly 35,000 anti-LGBT hate crimes go unreported each year. This is especially true in rural areas where more barriers to speaking up about anti-LGBT abuse often exist. I am pleased that the EHRC has sent a strong message that this is not acceptable. I am delighted that the project will support the development of regional and rural services throughout the UK for LGBT victims of hate crime”.
This 14 month project will build on the anti-hate crime work of charities and community groups in previously neglected areas and will be overseen by a national group for LGBT organisations.
The partnership will empower LGBT communities through campaigns and information resources, as well as building new independent advice services and expertise within local organisations. It will achieve this through training, setting up buddying relationships between organisations, funding advisors, setting up systems to help people report, make them safer and empower their choices; as well as training criminal justice organisations such as the police.
The project will also create an expert helpline for hate crime advisors, create a set of standards for hate crime service providers, produce guidance for Police & Crime Commissioners on commissioning hate crime services and guidance for charities on working with the media on hate crime issues. Paul Roberts, Chief Executive at LGBT Consortium went on to say, “This ambitious programme of delivery is the biggest partnership of organisations to have come together across the LGBT sector. This is our opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of LGBT people and communities who find themselves victims of homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crimes and incidents. We are proud to be working with so many of our Members and the EHRC on this project.”
The Equality and Human Rights Commission and LGBT consortium will work closely with local Criminal Justice Agencies to ensure the widest possible reach for the project.