Ken Bryan was leaving a gay bar on Oxford St in the early hours of 1 December 2007 when four men bashed him from behind.
In a state of shock, Bryan picked himself up and retaliated, and the four men proceeded to bash him unconscious.
Bryan reported the incident to the authorities, before spending the night in hospital where he received a number of stitches in his mouth.
Police informed Bryan that they would inspect the CCTV footage and search for his attackers. But to date, Bryan has received no police response.
“I know I shouldn’t have confronted the men, but I have lived on Oxford St for 25 years and this is my home. I was just so shocked,” he said.
“This has changed my life. I try not to let it stop me going out on Oxford St, but it’s just not the same as before.”
But Bryan might be waiting a while for a police response, as another victim of violence, Paul Madden, has been left in the dark for over a year.
Madden was on his way home from Oxford St at about 4am on 7 January 2007, when he was attacked by two men.
The men approached him as he was nearing Albion St in Surry Hills, and asked, “What’s in your pockets?”
At that point, Madden was “smashed to the floor”, his pockets were ripped open and his possessions were stolen.
Madden has been in and out of doctors’ surgeries ever since. His eye had sunk back three millimetres, and he now has to see a neurologist.
Madden identified the two perpetrators in CCTV footage from a local nightclub and, despite numerous calls from Madden to police throughout 2007, the men have not been arrested or charged.
“I started with a GLLO officer at the local police station, but he didn’t seem to care a whole lot,” he said.
“The police said they would keep their eye out for the men. But I have been ringing them and nothing has happened. Every time I call, the officer is sick or doesn’t ring back.”
Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project officers have spent the last 12 months trying to address the problems with Surry Hills Local Area Command, including training more than 60 officers to respond to homophobic violence and working with the City of Sydney to develop the Oxford St safety strategy.
AVP officers continue to have concerns about the police response to homophobic attacks, however, and have called for all victims to contact them.
AVP coordinator Carl Harris said the AVP was currently preparing a submission to the NSW Ombudsman to get a review of police practice in Surry Hills.
“So I would encourage people to get in contact with us. We do need case studies to support the submission,” he said.
Contact the AVP on 9206 2066, SMS 0416 955 155, see them in person at 60 Oxford St, Darlinghurst, 11pm-5am Friday and Saturday nights, or 3.30pm-6pm Monday to Friday, or go to www.avp.acon.org.au.