A new anti-homophobic violence pilot has been given the thumbs up for the Chapel St, Commercial Rd precinct.

Presenting the initiative to the Stonnington Liquor Accord meeting, Anti-Violence Project convenor Greg Adkins said the education campaign aims to create an inclusive environment for GLBT people to comfortably report violence.

He said he would now enter into discussions with ‘straight’ venues in the area as part of the project’s roll-out.

“It’s not an overnight solution, but the pilot can now move forward … there’ll be more posters and more badging and signage and we’ll start extending it to some of the ‘straight’ venues,” Adkins told Southern Star.

“This is a contribution the gay and lesbian community can make to the broader understanding of violence which is backed by solutions.
“The long-term plan is to get it out across all Stonnington licensed venues.”

The pilot is already operating in four Commercial Rd gay venues, one food outlet and a sex-on-premises venue.

The project follows three homophobic incidents on Commercial Rd this year that were not reported to police.

Adkins said Accord attendees were receptive to the project, but there was still some reticence from venue owners who feared reporting violent incidents near or in their venue could lead to further police scrutiny.

Inspector Clive Rust of Prahran police said venues had a responsibility to report violence and ensure alcohol is served responsibily.
“I would encourage any venue to report a crime if a crime occurs in their venue,” he said.

“If the venue is operating responsibly and a crime happens to occur in the venue then it wouldn’t be held against them.”

Rust said if violence occurred outside a venue he would expect venue staff, including security staff, to act “reasonably”.

“We’d expect them to apply the same standard as any other citizen would and that means noting the details and contacting police,” he said.

“We’d hope security staff could use their interpersonal skills … and proactively de-escalate a situation.”

Rust said he supported the AVP project and encouraged GLBT people to report crime.

“We will investigate like any other crime. We do not treat anyone any differently,” he said.

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