LGBT+ Restorative Justice and Hate Crime – one year update
Our pan-London LGBT+ hate crime project is nearing the end of a successful first year. To celebrate, here is an update on the work we have been doing.
The project is funded by the City Bridge Trust and aims to promote Restorative Justice as a method for addressing LGBT+ hate crime. The project works with national LGBT+ organisations such as GALOP as well as organisations in London that focus on tackling LGBT+ hate crime.
Why are we using Restorative Justice for LGBT+ hate crime
LGBT+ hate crime is rising, and victims are not getting the support that they need. According to Stonewall one in five LGBTQ+ people have experienced a hate crime or hate incident in the last 12 months. Hate crimes committed against the LGBT+ community have risen dramatically, with a particular spike in levels of transphobic hate crimes over the last few years, with transgender and non binary individuals being considerably more likely to experience a negative incident.
Restorative Justice in the LGBT+ community
Welsh rugby star Gareth Thomas used Restorative Justice when he experienced a hate crime because of his sexuality. Thomas was punched in a homophobic attack in Cardiff. In a video, Thomas explained that he had requested that police use Restorative Justice because he ‘thought [the perpetrator] could learn more that way than any other.’ South Wales police reported that a 16-year-old boy not only admitted to the attack, but apologised to Thomas following a successful restorative justice process.
Pan- London Restorative Justice and LGBTQ+ Project – What we are doing to help
Our LGBT+ project is working to increase access to Restorative Justice for victims like Gareth.
We are giving awareness sessions and training to key stakeholders in the LGBTQ+ community and establishing referral links with organisations, such as GALOP, who face fewer barriers to engaging with the LGBTQ+ community compared to traditional routes such as the Police. We are working to develop best practice guidance for Restorative Justice in this type of hate crime, informed by the practical work we are engaging in with this community, through our Restorative Justice service and the LGBT+ hate crime cases we are currently working on. We are raising awareness amongst LGBT+ civil groups and in the media.
As a society we need to get better at challenging hate crime and supporting those it impacts. Restorative justice is an important way of achieving that and we are proud to work alongside Why me? in their anti-hate crime restorative justice work.Nick Antjoule, Head of Hate Crime Services at LGBT+ organisation GALOP
We are interested in hearing from groups and individuals affected by LGBT+ hate crime – to arrange a Restorative Justice awareness session, or to help you find out more about Restorative Justice for your own situation and to hear your views. Get in touch! Contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org