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Hate crime advocates to support LGBT community

29th March 2018

Northumbria Police Commissioner Dame Vera Baird has funded the training of 19 advocates who will engage with the police and the criminal justice system to raise awareness and understanding of LGBT issues. They will also work directly with victims by signposting them to support services and offering 1:1 guidance, having had specialist listening skills and advocacy training.

The advocates have been trained and recruited by the LGBT Federation North East, which works to bring together LGBT groups and provide a voice for the community. The volunteers, who are all part of the community themselves, will deliver training to front line Northumbria officers, giving them insight into the impact of LGBT hate crime. It is also hoped that the investment will build a bridge between the community and criminal justice workers, ensuring a better experience and outcome for victims and ultimately, greater confidence to report abuse.

According to a national 2016 Hate Crime Report, in the UK 4 in 5 LGBT people have experienced hate crime, with a further 1 in 4 having been subject to violence as part of the offence.

Dame Vera said: “Many victims of LGBT hate crime find it difficult to report what has happened to them, and that’s why it’s so important to have these specially trained advocates to build confidence in those who have suffered abuse. I’m delighted to fund this initiative that will see these champions bring LGBT issues to the forefront of the legal system and ensure our police are trained to the highest standard in understanding the needs of this community.”

Louise Evan-Wong from The Fed said: “This is an incredibly important service run by LGBT volunteers for LGBT people. Across the country, many of those who do report a hate crime of this nature feel that professionals they spoke to did not have a good grasp of LGBT issues. This funding from Northumbria PCC and Awards4All will see that those who have suffered abuse in the North East can have their voices heard by professionals who will understand the full impact of their experience.”

Anyone who believes they have suffered abuse or prejudice as a result of their sexual orientation or identity can get in touch with an advocate by emailing, private messaging @LGBTFed on Twitter or @TheLGBTFed on Facebook.