Transgender and gender diverse victims of crimes of prejudice will get their own advocates through an initiative by the Gender Centre.

The Transgender Anti-Violence Project (TAVP), to be launched by Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore tomorrow, will record when people have been targeted because of their gender identity and support victims through the legal process.

Gender Centre manager Phinn Borg told the Star Observer the project, which will be based in Sydney but will receive reports nationwide, had been a long time in the making.

“There had been very little evidence or statistics collected on what’s been happening within the transgender and gender diverse community in terms of violence and hate crimes,” Borg said.

“The project will support clients through the whole process — both reporting to TAVP for the collection of data and to police.

“That goes beyond just assisting people in reporting incidents. It also covers what needs to be done by police to support transgender and gender diverse people in reporting crimes, going to the police station with them, and being there while the reporting process is happening.

“We will also refer people to other services along the way in terms of medical or legal needs, and we will support them in court. It’s about seeing a client from start to finish for a successful outcome.”

NSW Police, the City of Sydney and the Inner City Legal Centre will participate on the TAVP’s steering committee. Borg said the support of other organisations — particularly the police — had been vital to the project’s establishment.

“The NSW Police Force has been a big partner with us. On Monday we did some training with seven local area command units, familiarising them with the TAVP and the Gender Centre and that’s going to be part of the campaign — training local police,” Borg said. “Police have been enthusiastic partners on the project and they’ve given us a lot of help in developing our forms and reporting mechanisms.”

Borg said having NSW Police GLBT issues corporate spokeswoman Superintendent Donna Adney on posters for the program showed how much police were willing to work with the community on transphobic violence

In the past ACON’s Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project (AVP) has received reports of transphobic violence and provided support to victims. AVP will still assist transgender and gender diverse victims of crime but will inform them that TAVP is also there to help them.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill welcomed the establishment of the more tailored service.

“ACON congratulates the organisers on launching this valuable new service and we look forward to working with them to help improve the safety and security of all people in our community,” Parkhill said.

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