Melbourne police office Gabby Tyacke has been honoured with an award for her work with multicultural communities as an LGBTI liaison officer (GLLO).

Tyacke received the Victoria Multicultural Award for Excellence for her work with various religious, migrant and refugee communities.

“I’m very proud,” she said.

“I don’t think we do enough with our multicultural communities in relation to LGBTI issues. It can be hard to start those conversations.”

The award, presented by the Victorian Multicultural Commission, recognises the work that Tyacke has done with diverse communities.

“It’s nice to get acknowledgement for the work we’re doing,” said Tyacke.

She said it was the first multicultural award to be given for work with the LGBTI community.

The only full-time GLLO in Victoria, Tyacke said her job was “fantastic”.

“We work with the LGBTI community, trying to encourage people to report prejudice-motivated crimes and feel comfortable talking to police,” she said.

Tyacke’s work focuses on ensuring LGBTI members of diverse communities are confident to deal with the police, knowing they will be treated with sensitivity and understanding.

As a GLLO, she is also involved in training other police officers to understand LGBTI issues.

“That includes the history the police have had with the community, which we’ve done a lot of work trying to improve,” she said.

Tyacke said that while the police relationship with the LGBTI community may have improved, reporting of crimes has not increased.

“We always put the word out that no matter how the offence might be—it might be someone calling you a name on the street—we want you to tell us about that,” she said.

Over the last few years, Tyacke has begun working with police multicultural liaison officers to reach out to diverse communities.

“I talk about the role of GLLOs and the fact that there are LGBTI people in every community,” she said.

“In a lot of multicultural and different faith background communities, it’s taboo to talk about same-sex relationships or transgender identities.”

Tyacke said making people aware that there are LGBTI people in their communities and that they can feel safe talking to GLLOs is a big part of her outreach.

She also works with the Victorian Multicultural Commission, as well as the Marhaba [‘welcome’] support group for Muslim LGBTI people.

Tyacke said the process of engaging with multicultural communities about LGBTI issues is ongoing, leading to less isolation and better mental wellbeing for people in those communities.

“We’re trying to keep doing what we’re doing, but do it better,” she said.

Tyacke also runs The GLLO Show on JOY 94.9—which has just been awarded Best Podcast—where she discusses community safety and issues facing the LGBTI community and how the police can help.

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