A new Emergency Services Support Network was launched in Tasmania last week to mark Wear it Purple Day.

The network was established to help support police, fire, and ambulance staff and volunteers who identify as LGBTI.

Commissioner Darren Hine said that Tasmania’s emergency services were proud employers of people of all genders and sexual orientations.

“The network is part of our commitment to fostering inclusive workforces by encouraging employees to share common experiences and information, contribute to policy development which promotes greater inclusion and improve organisational awareness of LGBTI-specific issues,” he said.

“The network currently comprises 12 staff who have received specialist training to equip them with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide support to staff within all four emergency services who identify with LGBTI communities.”

Hine said that the network provided a dedicated support framework to DPFEM (Department of Police, Fire & Emergency Management) and Ambulance staff and volunteers across the state.

“As part of this, suitable LGBTI reference material and support is available to help those who need assistance,” he said.

A handbook which guides the work of the network has been prepared in consultation with all agencies, the University of Tasmania and LGBTI support service Working it Out.

“The initiative complements the work we’re already doing helping to support LGBTI communities with our trained LGBTI officers to provide advice and assistance,” Hine said.

“Ultimately we aim to foster organisational cultures that are truly inclusive of all our diverse groups and the creation of the Emergency Services Support Network is an important part of this.”

LGBTI liaison officers can be contacted via the Police Assistance Line 131 444.

LGBTI people who experience bullying, discrimination or harassment can also report to Equal Opportunity Tasmania (the office of the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner) by telephone on 1300 305 062, or through the Equal Opportunity Tasmania website at office@equalopportunity.tas.gov.au.

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