Anti-Violence Project Victoria has launched a new reporting service and is calling on the GLBT community to report violence whenever it occurs.

The service, launched on the revamped AVP website, includes a form to report homophobic and domestic violence.

Victims in the first instance are urged to seek police help, however, the web reporting service gives those people who haven’t gone to police a chance to report violence against them.

-œWhether you’re city-based or living in rural or regional areas, whether you have personally experienced violence or seen it happening to someone else… please make yourself familiar with how to speak up about violence, well before you need to use it, AVP spokesman Greg Adkins said.

Research indicates homophobic violence is chronically underreported -” it is estimated only around 10 percent of homophobic violence is ever reported.

It has been suggested victims feel wary about approaching police -” concerned they will not be taken seriously or the police force is homophobic.

In a 2008 La Trobe University Report, Coming Forward, the data revealed nearly 85 percent of GLBT respondents had been subject to heterosexist violence or harassment. Eight in 10 GLBT respondents experienced violence as part of a same-sex couple or group in the previous two years.

-œHistorically our community underreports violence, Adkins said. -œThis means violence often continues again and again without interruption, repeating itself until eventually someone speaks up.

Apart from gathering information on where violence is occurring, the service has also been designed so the AVP can liaise between the victim and Victoria Police.

-œThe underreporting of violence also lets governments off the hook and results in inadequate funding and service provision to address violence, especially when it comes to funding the GLBT community, Adkins said.

-œWith an accurate knowledge of violence and its impacts, governments must then allocate adequate resources to address violence against and within our communities.

info: The reporting service can be contacted anonymously. Visit antiviolence.info

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