Darren_Hine_TAS_200x200Tasmanian Police Commissioner Darren Hine (pictured) has committed to improving public safety after a new report revealed troubling levels of discrimination and assault for the state’s LGBTI community.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Tasmanians are seven times more likely to have experienced violent assault than other Australians, according to the BeProud report.

It found 74 per cent of respondents reported feeling vulnerable to prejudice and discrimination from strangers.

That’s almost double that to the broader national community with just over 40 per cent of LGBTI Australians reporting they had hidden their sexuality or gender identity in public occasionally, according to the 2012 Private Lives 2 report.

Tasmanians indicated they were less confident in reporting their experiences of prejudice to the police than their NSW counterparts, as well as their identity to health workers.

“The statistics for discrimination and assault revealed in the BeProud Report are unacceptable,” Hine said.

“My response will be to re-invigorate the Police Service’s approach by convening a new strategic working group that I will personally chair. Community representatives and the Anti-Discrimination Commissioner will be invited to participate. The ultimate aim of the group will be improved public safety and quality of life for all Tasmanians, including members of the LGBTI community.”

Be Proud Tasmania commissioned Dr Nicole Asquith and Dr Christopher Fox to conduct the research which attracted 162 participants.

Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group spokesman Rodney Croome welcomed the commissioner’s commitment and said he was confident a closer relationship between the community and the police would help find a solution to these problems.

Working It Out CEO Susan Ditter said the community and government sector should do more to inform LGBTI Tasmanians of their options for reporting discrimination.

“Perhaps the most troubling aspect of the research is that many LGBTI Tasmanians don’t recognise discrimination when it occurs because they are so used to it,” she said.

“Almost one in five people occasionally hid their identity when accessing health care, and almost 14 per cent usually hid it for fear of prejudice and discrimination from health care providers,” he said.

The research was funded by the state government through the LGBTI community grants program and conducted in partnership with Working It Out Inc, TasCAHRD, and the Tasmanian Gay and Lesbian Rights Group.

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