Trainers from 10 EU countries took part in a 2.5 day specialised programme on recognising and responding to anti-LGBT hate crime and best practices in providing victim support in Warsaw this week. The training was organized by Lambda Warsaw (Poland) and Galop (UK) as part of the EU Come Forward project. The training will be disseminated to over 1,000 professionals- police officers, prosecutors, NGOs and others- across Europe during 2018.
“This is the largest project aimed at building capacity of professionals to work with victims of anti-LGBT hate crimes in Europe,” said Dr. Piotr Godzisz from Lambda Warsaw, scientific leader of the project. The course was attended by trainers from NGOs, state institutions and universities across Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Spain and the United Kingdom.
During the course, the trainers explored diversity within their own communities through practical case study exercises. Special attention was paid to violence faced by trans people and inclusive practices in hate crime reporting centres and victim support services.
“Many LGBT people who experienced hate crime are reluctant to turn to authorities” said Dr. Jasna Magić from Galop, co-facilitator of the event. “Civil society plays a vital role in addressing anti-LGBT hate crimes. NGOs are often the first point of contact for victims.”
In the next step, trainers will prepare and deliver bespoke training events in their respective countries to professionals including police officers, prosecutors and NGOs.
“Anti-LGBT hate crimes are ‘symbolic crimes’, aimed to show a message of intolerance and spread fear. The police and prosecutors are in the best position to send a zero-tolerance message against this type of victimization,” said Magić. “It is important to build bridges between police, prosecutors, NGOs and other actors to ensure that LGBT people targeted because of who they are can report hate crimes and receive the support they need.”
During the upcoming training events, professionals will receive a newly developed resource Working with Victims of Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes: A Practical Handbook. The handbook provides best practice guidance based on the experiences and perspectives of victims themselves. The handbook will be available online (in local languages) in May 2018.
The project Come Forward: Empowering and Supporting Victims of Anti-LGBT Hate Crimes is co-led by the University of Brescia (Italy) and Lambda Warsaw (Poland) and developed by a consortium encompassing 22 partners from 10 European countries. The project is co-financed by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (2014-2020) of the European Union.