Victoria Police is looking to reach out to Melbourne’s lesbian community after discovering women are far less likely than gay men and trans people to report prejudice-motivated crime.
Victoria Police Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer (GLLO) Senior Constable Gabrielle Tyacke said once a month the GLLOs’ regular one-hour radio show on Melbourne LGBTI radio station JOY94.9 will be devoted to queer women’s issues.
Tyacke said while there are no official figures on the difference in reporting between the genders, she estimates around 80 percent of reports are from gay men or trans people.
“From when I first started in this role, I found the lesbian community is a lot harder to reach,” Tyacke told the Star Observer.
“We want the lesbian community to be involved, we want to hear what their issues are and try and figure out why they’re not contacting and connecting with police.”
Anti-Violence Project Victoria (AVP) convenor Greg Adkins told the Star Observer he’s seen a similar trend of underreporting in women using the AVP’s reporting service.
“Women are underreporting violence drastically. They’re just not engaging with the strategies that have worked so far, we just don’t hear,” he said.
Adkins said the AVP sometimes receives third-party reports of prejudice-motivated crime against women, including a report last month about a group of people verbally harassing a lesbian couple in Swanston St. Adkins said the victims did not report the incident.
Going by the working title of GLLO Women’s Hour, the radio show will be presented by women. It will focus on issues including prejudice-motivated crime, sexual assault, family violence, and the availability of support services, as well as health and law concerns.
JOY manager of people, services and culture and show co-host Leenie Fabri said the revised program fits into a broader strategy within JOY to involve more women in the station.
“Probably innately, women tend to not want to cause a fuss and although we’ve come a long way in being a force to be reckoned with and there are strong women in our community, I think sometimes there is some shame associated with being assaulted or suffering from domestic violence,” Fabri told the Star Observer.
“The show’s about committing to having a regular discourse on the topic and, hopefully, that will result in people feeling more comfortable about going to the police.”
INFO: GLLO Women’s Hour will broadcast on JOY94.9 at noon on the third Wednesday of the month.