Agencies from across Cleveland came together on Monday 3rd March to discuss how to improve their response to homophobic and transphobic hate crime.
The event was jointly organised by the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland, Barry Coppinger, the Crown Prosecution Service and the Safer Future Communities Network, which brings together voluntary and community sector organisations from across the area.
The focus of the morning, which took place at Police Headquarters, Ladgate Lane, was on increasing community confidence in criminal justice agencies, looking at how to effectively prosecute hate crime and at how to increase reporting.
Barry Coppinger said: "Within Cleveland last year the police only received 56 reports of homophobic and transphobic hate incidents, yet we know from speaking to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender communities that many suffer persistent hate abuse which they fail to report to the police and other agencies. This can be for a variety of reasons, including fear that their concerns will not be taken seriously or that no action will be taken.
"By bringing together public, private and voluntary organisations from across the area to discuss the issues we hope to improve our response going forward and demonstrate to LGB&T communities that they can come to us when incidents occur and we will deal with them sensitively and robustly."
Emma Roebuck, Criminal Justice Lead at Gay Advice Darlington/Durham said: "The impact of hate crime on LGB & T people is insidious and affects us in many ways. It needs challenging at all levels and this event is an opportunity for organisations to learn ways to deliver on these issues."
Posted on Monday 3rd March 2014