A new training manual for professionals on working with victims of anti-LGBTI hate crimes, an accompanying handbook and a collection of good practices have been published by a group of European NGOs as part of the EU-funded transnational project Come Forward. The resources are available free of charge on the website www.lgbthatecrime.eu.
The training manual Hate Crimes against LGBTI Persons. Training on Reporting and Victim Support, written by Ewa Stoecker and Jasna Magić on behalf of Lambda Warszawa and Galop UK, provides knowledge and tools to support trainers in delivering training on hate crime against LGBTI people. It covers use of appropriate language and terminology in the context of working with and supporting LGBTI victims; what makes hate crime different from any other crime; barriers that victims face in accessing support services and how to address these barriers. It also deals with the role of criminal justice organizations and NGOs in the reporting and support process. Each topic is accompanied by guidance on participatory training methods that can be used to make an impact on learners. The document is aimed at trainers within criminal justice agencies, social services and NGOs.
Nick Antjoule, Head of Hate Crime Services at Galop UK and contributor to the manual, said: “Hate crime spreads fear within LGBTI communities, limiting our ability to live open and fulfilled lives. IIt sends a message that we are not welcome, which the response of authorities and NGOs has the power to help undo.” He added: “We are hopeful that this resource will help services in that task by equipping staff to deal with victims in a respectful, professional and knowledgeable manner.”
Dr Piotr Godzisz from Lambda Warszawa, the scientific leader of the project and editor of the manual, said: “While no training programme is perfect, the strength of this particular manual is in its specificity and versatility. It is the only training curriculum that currently exists in Europe which covers the topic of working with anti-LGBTI hate crime victims to such extent.”
To support the training, a practical handbook Working with victims of anti-LGBT hate crimes (written by Marko Jurcić on behalf of Zagreb Pride) and the collection of good practices on reporting anti-LGBTI hate crimes and supporting victims have also been developed. The handbook provides professionals with accessible and relevant information needed to better understand transphobic and homophobic violence, the experiences and perspectives of the victims, and how to ensure maximal support and safety for the victims. It also includes specific and practical guidelines and tips on how to work and communicate with LGBT victims taking into consideration their specific needs and vulnerability. The collection of good practices offers information on inspirational practices that proved to be effective in countering underreporting of anti-LGBT hate crime and enhancing support of LGBT victims. It provides professionals working with victims and witnesses with useful suggestions on how to further improve the capacities of official authorities and NGOs for tackling anti-LGBT crime.
„Even though the protection of LGBT victims from violence depends on the legal framework, the organisational culture and the daily micro-practices of professionals working in institutions and NGOs - how they work on improving their services, how they communicate with victims and how they make sure that all the victims’ needs are being considered - are also very important,” emphasized Mia Gonan, program coordinator at Zagreb Pride and editor of the handbook and good practices report. They added: “Both resources were developed by professionals and activists with experiences of working both with victims and other professionals from different fields, which makes these publications full of really practical tips that can be applied to different professional settings where people work with victims”.
The training manual, the handbook and the collection of good practices can be downloaded by everyone from the website www.lgbthatecrime.eu and will remain available in the future. “We are trying to set the foundations of networking and innovative training activities that will continue to be supported by the consortium even after the end of the project” , said Giacomo Viggiani from the University of Brescia, the project’s coordinator.
The Come Forward project aims to build the capacity of professionals working at public institutions and NGOs which may come in contact with LGBTI victims. By the end of 2018, over 1000 professionals – police officers, NGOs, social workers and others – from 10 EU countries will be trained. The project is implemented by the consortium encompassing 23 partners: University of Brescia (Italy), Lambda Warsaw (Poland), Çavaria (Belgium), Bilitis (Bulgaria), GLAS (Bulgaria), Zagreb Pride (Croatia), Praksis (Greece), Colour Youth (Greece), Háttér (Hungary), LGL (Lithuania), GES (Spain), University of Girona (Spain), Galop (United Kingdom), Avvocatura per i Diritti LGBTI (Italy), TGEU (international), ILGA Europe (international), Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights (Poland), Institute for the Equality of Women and Men (Belgium), Human Rights House (Croatia), Human Rights Monitoring Institute (Lithuania), Greek Ombudsman (Greece), Bulgarian Lawyers for Human Rights (Bulgaria), and Interfederal Centre for Equal Opportunities (Belgium) and the International Network for Hate Studies. It is co-funded by the European Commission as part of the Rights, Equality and Citizenship programme.