Special Commission into gay hate crimes begins in Sydney

NSW’s Special Inquiry into historical gay hate crimes commenced its proceedings in Sydney today.

The commission lead by Justice John Sackar follows on from 2019 parliamentary inquiry and will look into cases between 1970 and 2010 where unsolved crimes may have been motivated by the victim’s sexuality.

Previous reports have found that between 1976 and 2000 there were 88 suspected hate crime deaths across NSW. An investigation by police operation Strikeforce Parrabell labeled 23 of these cases unsolved, but health organisation ACON have suggested that the true number may be closer to 30.

Speaking at the opening of the inquiry, Senior Counsel Peter Gray said they would be looking into cases where many lives were cut short.

“All of the deaths, of which this inquiry is concerned, many of them lonely and terrifying, were of people whose lives were tragically cut short.” Gray said.

“Many had also suffered discrimination or worse while alive, some of the deaths were obviously murders, others may well have been. The response of the community, of society, its intuitions, to these deaths was sadly lacking.”

Gray said the inquiry hoped to shine a light and reveal what happened in as many of the cases possible and encouraged people who had information about what happened in each of the cases to come forward.

“Any information you have, no matter how major or minor, could provide a vital link in understanding what happened.” Gray said appealing to the public.

“If you have had something weighing on your mind for years about these things, now is your chance to do something to make amends. Now is the time to break your silence.”

The inquiries final report is scheduled to be delivered by the end of July 2023.

How to contact the inquiry

Any person who has information relevant to a person who is suspected to have been murdered in NSW in the period between 1970 and 2010 for reason of their sexual or gender identity (or presumed sexual or gender identity) should contact the Special Commission.

Information can be provided anonymously and confidentially.

You may contact the Special Commission by completing the form below or by:

  • Email: [email protected]
  • Mail: The Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes
    GPO Box 5341
    Sydney NSW 2001
  • Phone: call +61 2 9228 4855 and leave a voice message

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