Homophobic hate crime highlighted at Eisteddfod

06/08/2010

Gwent CPS has joined forces with Gwent Police and Stonewall Cymru to launch a campaign to target homophobic hate crime. The campaign was launched at this year's Eisteddfod in Ebbw Vale.

The campaign comes on the back of a Stonewall survey, which found that, whilst 1 in 5 lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) people had experienced hate crime, only 1 in 10 had reported it to the Police. In Gwent, homophobic hate crime registered reports have decreased slightly from 38 in 2008/9 to 32 in 2009/10.

The CPS has taken steps to ensure that victims of hate crime are treated fairly by the Criminal Justice System. A policy has been introduced to improve the way that victims and witnesses are treated by the CPS and we also now publish statistics relating to these types of offences. Our Hate Crime Scrutiny Panels give community representatives the chance to review cases and recommend improvements.

The most recent initiative sees criminal justice agencies joining forces to distribute drinks mats with anti-homophobic hate crime messages on them. The drinks mats were distributed at drinking venues on site at this year's Eisteddfod and are now being distributed in pubs and clubs throughout the Gwent area. Gwent Police and the CPS jointly funded the 15,000 drinks mats.

Similar drinks mats were launched at last year's Eisteddfod in Bala by North Wales CPS, North Wales Police and their partner agencies. They were welcomed by the community and the initiative has now been expanded to include posters on buses. One gay resident commented:

"I think the campaign over the Bala Eisteddfod was a huge success and I'm glad it's being done in Gwent as well. There had been a number of local events that had made us feel unsafe but we found the beer mats became a talking point and there is a change in people's attitudes, it seems more of a mature place to be out in."

Gwent CCP Jim Brisbane, said:  "We want to ensure that people living in Gwent and throughout Wales have access to justice and are treated fairly.

"A key part of our role within local communities is to work with lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people and partner agencies to build peoples confidence to come forward and report crimes.

"Initiatives like this really help us to get the message across that we are working hard to support our local communities."

Chief Superintendent Paul Symes, Gwent Police, said: "Hate crime will not be tolerated within the Gwent Police Force area. This initiative is important firstly in raising awareness among the community that this is recognised as a crime and secondly to ensure that those who suffer it know exactly who to call and that it's going to be dealt with seriously."

Jenny Porter, Community Liaison Officer for Stonewall Cymru added: "We applaud the work the criminal justice agencies are doing to raise awareness of how seriously they treat homophobic hate crime and urge victims and witnesses to report any such incident to the police."