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Campaign the first step in ending violence

Ivana Pelisek | Interrobang | News | November 16th, 2009



London Police services organized a Report Homophobic Violence Period campaign presentation at their Dundas headquarters giving the public an opportunity to speak out about issues regarding hate crimes in the city of London.

“This is an awareness campaign focused on encouraging victims and witnesses of hate crimes to come forward and report it to Police,” said Marcel Marcellin, a diversity officer for London Police Services. “In the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, community these crimes often go unreported by victims for a variety of reasons.

“Our goal is to eliminate the fear and support victims of hate crime through a variety of community resources and services. The presentation was to introduce the program to our community.”

Recent homophobic attacks that occurred in late September have sparked action to be taken and awareness to be raised with today's youth.

The objective is to prevent homophobic and tranaphobic violence among youth and boost reporting of hate crimes in the city of London.

The RHVP campaign primarily aims at young people aged 13 to 25 and raises concerns and issues on why homophobic attitudes exist and how harassment and violence should be reported to adults and to the police.

Police have stated that underreporting continually happens because many victims feel the incident that occurred to them isn't all that serious, perhaps they are embarrassed it could happen to them or maybe they live with fear of being isolated from family and friends.

The fear it might happen again is also another reason why victims do not come forward to the police, the police department added.

The campaign also ensures that individuals who have been a victim of any hate crime can be certain police do take every case that comes in very seriously and proper steps are taken to deal with each case appropriately.

A 2006 Statistics Canada report found young people are more likely to be both accused of hate crime and victims of hate crime. The report also found that half of the hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation were violent, higher than those based on religion, race or ethnicity.

An online survey conducted by Egale Canada, a national organization that promotes equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer community, backs up this data. Of the LGBTQ youth who participated in their school survey this year:

- Two-thirds felt unsafe at school.

- Over half reported verbal harassment.

- Over a quarter were physically harassed.

- Nearly half had been sexually harassed.

- Those harassed were much less likely to report it to school staff.
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