Action on homophobic crime

by Nadia Sam-Daliri A huge drive is underway to forge better links between police and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents (LGBT), after it emerged that homophobic crime is increasing. International Day against Homophobia, on

by Nadia Sam-Daliri

A huge drive is underway to forge better links between police and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender residents (LGBT), after it emerged that homophobic crime is increasing.

International Day against Homophobia, on May 17, saw LGBT groups in Brent and Hammersmith & Fulham run events encouraging victims to come forward.

In Brent, homophobic attacks increased from 15 last financial year to 34 up to April this year.


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The figure increased from 31 to 38 in Hammersmith & Fulham.

Aimee White, charity Broken Rainbow's office manager, said: "Our helpline is run by LGBT people for LGBT people. We have details of officers who can advise anyone thinking of reporting incidences but who is unsure of the reception they may receive."

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Charities like Broken Rainbow, which helps LGBT victims of domestic violence, and Outwest, based in Hammersmith & Fulham and Brent, have spoken of the mistrust many in the community have for police.

They say this is detrimental trend must be tackled.

Chris Boucher, co-chair of Outwest, was himself a victim of hate crime.

Five years ago, eight youths beat him up in a vicious homophobic attack which left him needing 17 stitches in his head.

He said: "The LGBT community has problems reporting hate crime because there is a history of mistrust of the police and how they will be dealt with. A lot also don't want to out themselves. We're trying to show that reporting the crime is the only way to tackle it. I had wonderful service from the police and one officer in my case has become a friend."

Det Sgt Paul Ridley, from Brent Police's public protection group, said: "It is very important that crimes of this nature do not go unreported. We want to reassure LGBT individuals that we are here to help them."

One in four LGBT people experience domestic violence and abuse, according to Broken Rainbow.

For help or advice call Broken Rainbow on 0300 999 LGBT (5428) or Outwest at

www.outwest.org.uk.

nadia.sam-daliri@archant.co.uk

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