Greens: WA Govt must do more to protect LGBTIQ+ from hate crimes

Greens spokesperson for Sexuality and Gender Identity and Justice, Alison Xamon, has urged the McGowan government to develop a better response to LGBTIQ+ hate crime, after learning there is no data collection on the issue.

Xamon said she was dismayed to learn through questions in WA Parliament that police still do not track instances of hate crime against the LGBTIQ+ community, a decade after the issue was identified as a significant gap.

The Greens leader also warned that WA was lagging behind other states in responses to LGBTIQ+ hate crime – and other minority groups – which meant police were unprepared, and communities unsupported.

“I am very concerned that there remains no targeted approach to tackling hate crime,” Xamon said.

“To stop crime motivated by prejudice against groups on the grounds of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexuality or disability, we need to know the scale of the problem.”

Referring to a 2018 police briefing paper provided as part of the answer to her question in Parliament, Xamon says WA Police admit they are not able to accurately identify trends or emerging issues, or provide appropriate responses to hate crimes.

“The Australian Human Rights Commission found 72% of LGBTIQ people had experienced verbal abuse; 41% threats of physical violence, and 23% a physical assault – these numbers increase dramatically for people who identify as trans, with an horrific 92% of trans women experiencing verbal abuse, and 46% a physical assault,” Xamon said.

“This is a serious problem, which is compounded by the information that we have that indicates the LGBTIQ community are much less likely to report incidents.”

Xamon urged the government to look to New Zealand and the United Kingdom for examples of hate crime provisions enshrined in law.

“I think we all aspire to live in a community where everyone feels connected, has a sense of belonging and feels valued,” Ms Xamon said.

“There should be simply no place for hatred and prejudice against the LGBTIQ – or other minorities – in Western Australia.”

OIP Staff

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