The number of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex police liaison officers in Queensland has jumped by a quarter with 25 newly trained officers joining 100 already on the beat.
The officers, from commands across Queensland, recently completed five days of training at the Queensland Police Academy in Brisbane.
The training included presentations from GLBTI health service the Queensland Association for Healthy Communities (QAHC) and GLBTI youth support service Open Doors.
LGBTI Liaison Program state coordinator Senior Sergeant Monica O’Mara told local media the Queensland Police Service was committed to providing policing that was responsive to all Queenslanders, including GLBTIs.
“The program is about giving LGBTI people somewhere to go,” O’Mara said.
“These officers also work hard to network with LGBTI communities to encourage the reporting of assaults and any form of vilification.
“Should members of LGBTI communities wish to speak with a LGBTI liaison officer, a contact list can be found at www.police.qld.gov.au ”
Last year, Speaking Out: Stopping Homophobic and Transphobic Abuse in Queensland, a survey of more than 1100 GLBT Queenslanders, found that 72 percent of same-sex attracted Brisbanites had experienced homophobia, with 53 percent reporting harassment had occurred in the previous two years.
Despite that, 75 percent did not report abuse to police.
The study’s author, Dr Alan Berman, told the Star Observer that interviewees rated Brisbane’s gayest suburbs among the worst for homophobic incidents.
“Particular hotspots were New Farm, Spring Hill and Fortitude valley, home to most of Brisbane’s GLBTIQ nightclubs,” Berman said.
“That’s consistent with national and international surveys which have shown that gay men tend to be victims of homophobic violence in inner-city suburbs as opposed to suburbs that are not predominantly inhabited by large gay populations.”