On the occasion of the European Day for Victims of Hate Crime, we spoke to experts on the frontline, those who have dedicated their time to supporting victims, to better understand what they observe in their local contexts and what gives them hope.
The Police Association LGTBIpol (Spain)
DEALING WITH VICTIMS OF HATE CRIMES
The police association LGTBIpol “Law Enforcement For Diversity”, is active in Spain from January 2017, working on building and fostering a better relationship between security forces and the citizens variety, particularly in the area of LGBTQ+ community, which is composed by men, women and non binary people with different sexual orientations, of every age, race, culture, ethnicity, religion or disabilities and so on (cross-sectoral nature), who are still nowadays victims of hate crimes, incidents of hatred, discrimination, bias and social rejection.
This association carries out the following work:
- Seeks to create a bridge tool that makes available a further movement towards the community by the police corps, convening meetings and collaborating with specialised organisations to stay up to date and keep abreast of those incidents and needs, as they take place.
- Trains, updates & arouses within law enforcement in the field of equality and hate crimes with regard to LGBTIQ+ issues, through awareness-raising events, training days, lectures, meetings, speeches, talks and also adding contents or topics in several courses set in some special police units. Awareness-building, information and sensitisation talks are carried out in schools and higher education colleges by this association, in order to prevent bullying cases.
- Becomes a direct listener-receiver of issues and security needs of the Hate Crime Victims and transmits this information to the police corporations in order to work together in plans which guarantee their citizens’ rights.
- Facilitates the connection and relation between police and another specialised associations or nongovernment organisations, since it still remains in the historical memory, when the police forces used to persecute and torture dark-skinned migrants and the LGBT community.
- Provides assistance and accompaniment to victims so that they can be properly attended when they need to place a hate crime report.
GAPS/BARRIERS IN OUR NATIONAL CONTEXT TO PROVIDE QUALITY SUPPORT TO VICTIMS OF HATE CRIMES
- Lack of diversity education and training
The National Courts Administration has little clue and little regard on diversity issues and its knowledge. For example, judges barely know how to tell a trans person from a transvestite and the same thing happens to most cops. This has an impact on prejudice and translates into malpractice when biases manipulate the perception of reality. It happens in all professional areas with repercussions in this aspect.
- Gender-blind Penal Code and regulation
Come to equality without gender perspectives is not possible and it is the beginning, the clue (the first step) and the basis for achieving everything in relation to eradicate all forms of discrimination.
- Ideologies and political parties opposed to human rights and equality
These are mostly the responsible for the hate speech that floods social networks and the Internet.
- Lack of specific regulation on hate crimes
Proposals are presented but at the last moment do not come to light due to disagreement.
- Denial of reality
There is a tendency to deny that there is inequality and discriminatory attitudes that still remain in this country. “Nobody is racist in Spain” for example.
- Lack of specific training for lawyers in this area
Most lawyers do not know much about hate crimes or about diversity either. Sometimes a police malpractice triggers a dubious arrest and public defenders are not able to put up a good case with a good legal defense, not being able to properly advise the real victims.
- Specific training has not yet reached all the police reporting offices
Although the Ministry´s Plan of action to combat Hate Crimes has been successful ensuring that such training is included, its development is being very slow.
RECOMMENDATIONS TO NATIONAL AUTHORITIES AND STAKEHOLDERS TO IMPROVE THE SITUATION
LGTBIpol: Our recommendations to national authorities in order to improve the situation goes for an ambitious and scheduled plan, which contains, mainly above all police officers training, not just and not enough with the official protocol content that already exists, but pointing to the sensitization about diversity, awareness-raising, highlighting the importance of recognizing its value within society and its citizens .
Performing both, inner and public, consciousness-raising campaigns that shows how to identify a hate crime, the importance of acknowledging when someone is being a hate speech, mobbing victim or the best way to help and support a victim, plus others issues like prevention hate speech, on-line hate or when and how report it.
We must recall that only experts should be at the forefront of equality policies.
To skateholders we underline the importance to keep the confidence in the police corporations, and use their tools and spaces for reporting. That would be facilitated by a well built link between the population and the police corporations, and for that will be needed a strong purpose when showing the nearest flank of these corporations, the more human side. Once trust is lost, it can be difficult to regain, it takes a long time to get it back, so now is up to us to make our intentions clear and prove that we know the current affairs, perceive reality, get trained and we are constantly evolving, striving to offer and provide efficient, quality services, having as a permanent guide: the defense of the free exercise of the rights and freedom of every human being.
REAL CASE DISSEMINATED BY THE NETWORK
(on video – more than one million views)
It happened this year 2020 on May. The video shows two local policemen inside a patrol standing next to a transsexual, and the driver records his partner who says to this person: “By day you are even uglier, you are horrible. What are you doing now that you can´t pull cocks or steal? How do you live? If you used to pull just few cocks, since you’re such an ugly man, now what do you do? ”
This agent adds: “I told you the other day that you could not be around and I did not report you”, while his partner who is recording the scene says: “No, no, we must report him.” “Go pig,” says the local police before stopping the recording.
The judge has ordered his provisional release, although he is being investigated for an alleged crime against fundamental rights and public liberties and / or an alleged crime against moral integrity.
His companion on patrol who recorded it from the car has been released, although he is charged with the crime of omitting relief.
Even the headline of the newspaper shows an enormous deficiency in the knowledge of diversity, misusing gender to refer to the trans person.
Learn more about hate crimes on Victim Support Europe’s OneVoiceOneCause campaign website.