Cleveland’s Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger will show his commitment to tackling hate crime at an event organised to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHO).
IDAHO was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGB&T) people internationally, and since then has grown into the single most important date for LGB&T communities to mobilise on a worldwide scale.
Barry Coppinger will attend a booklet launch organised by Hartlepool based LGB&T support organisation Hart Gables, as one in a series of events to commemorate IDAHO. The booklet, which was funded by Mr Coppinger together with his counterparts in Durham and Northumbria, will detail real life stories of hate crime victims.
Other events arranged by Hart Gables include an art workshop exploring the emotional impact of hate crime and an equality climb up Roseberry Topping.
Sarah Lewis, Strategic Manager at Hart Gables, said: “The concept of IDAHO is to raise awareness about the seriousness of LGB&T hate, something that touches the lives of many people locally and globally.
“Every year IDAHO has a theme, and this year that theme is mental health and wellbeing. One in four people will suffer from mental health issues in the UK and research suggests that LGB&T people are more likely to be affected by those issues.
“Our service is delivering a workshop on 17th May at Teesside University to explore the reasons why LGB&T people are affected, predominantly focussing on LGB&T hate and the impact it has on a person’s mental health and wellbeing.”
Police and Crime Commissioner, Barry Coppinger, said: “These events highlight two themes that are receiving increasing focus from the police locally; hate crime and mental health.
“Now that I am in my second term of office I am more determined than ever to take steps to ensure that those living, working and socialising within Cleveland can be free to be themselves without fear of harassment and discrimination.
“It is completely unacceptable that anyone should be targeted based on their sexuality or gender identity, and I have heard on many occasions from speaking to victims how devastating the impact can be on their lives.
“I have commissioned research into the barriers around reporting LGB&T hate crime and by attending events such as this I hope that I can demonstrate to the LGB&T community that I am listening to their concerns. I am also working with police to try and break down some of the barriers and encourage more people to report hate crime so that as an organisation, Cleveland Police can deal with this type of crime robustly and send a clear message to perpetrators that their prejudices will not be tolerated in our area.”
View the booklet of life stories from hate crime victims here.
Posted on Monday 16th May 2016