Victoria Police say they haven’t seen an increase in reported cases of homophobic violence since stories of a rise in homophobic incidents in the Brunswick area.
Victoria Police Gay and Lesbian Advisory Unit manager Sgt Scott Davis told Southern Star a Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer attended a community response meeting last month, however, no recent incidents had been reported.
Brunswick Police Snr Sgt Michael Moloney told Southern Star the only homophobic case reported was an incident in July in which a man was hit with a glass on stage at the East Brunswick Club.
A more recent verbal and physical assault which went unreported to police involved a woman leaving Brunswick queer night Orlando. The incident was recorded on the Anti-Violence Project (AVP) Victoria reporting website.
Snr Sgt Moloney said he made two offers to speak at the September 4 community meeting which weren’t taken up, but he is happy to speak to anyone in the community with concerns.
AVP convenor Greg Adkins said he was aware of an increase in verbal assaults in the area anecdotally, however, he said people are not reporting aggressive verbal incidents to police or the AVP website.
“The trend I’m hearing is of low-level verbal vilification, with the word ‘lezzo’ called out to women,” Adkins said.
Adkins said although typically incidents didn’t escalate from verbal slurs, words can have a hurtful effect on individuals.
Orlando promoter and community response meeting leader Sam Stoker said she has encountered homophobic remarks in the area and knows of other lesbians harassed around Sydney Rd.
“I think girls who perhaps look gender queer, who don’t successfully blend into the landscape, they seem to have expressed more homophobic incidents,” she said.
Stoker said although the community group was willing to work with police there was still a feeling that verbal slurs wouldn’t be taken seriously.
info: To contact Snr Sgt Moloney at Brunswick Police, call 8388 6000.

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