A committed group of police officers from all over NSW have put their hands up to do a course aimed at increasing their skills and knowledge in working with GLBTIQ communities.

In doing so, they’ve also put their hands up to help build the capacity of police to respond to homophobic incidents as well as to provide training for police. Welcome to the NSW Police Force’s Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer (GLLO) program.

Volunteering for it is no mean feat given GLBTIQ diversity and the complexity and range of issues that can arise — same-sex domestic violence in a country town, homophobic attacks in a city, assault at a beat, neighbour harassment, workplace bullying, cyber harassment or threats on cruising sites.

Our past experiences with police can also affect our willingness to report crime, and can lower our expectations of something being done.

Just two weeks ago ACON assisted in training 25 new police officers in all things GLLO covering GLBTI domestic violence, homophobia/transphobia and heterosexism, community engagement, community needs and expectations, homophobic violence and abuse, existing support services, and NSW Police’s investment in working with GLBTI communities (see pics on the This Is Oz site at http://www.facebook.com/thisisoz ).

NSW Police was a pioneer in gay and lesbian community liaison. The first Australian GLLO program (one of the first in the world) started here in 1990. Today, there are GLLO programs in all states and the ACT (sometimes called GLBTI Liaison). The Australian Federal Police also has a program.

The specially trained GLLOs are located in many NSW police stations. If you’d like to speak to a GLLO, contact your local police and ask for GLLO availability and contact details. GLLOs won’t always be available when an incident occurs and the absence of a GLLO shouldn’t ever discourage anyone from reporting.

All police officers can and should respond to reports of crime.

ACON’s Ant-Violence Project works to support people affected by homophobic/transphobic violence and abuse, and same-sex domestic violence. We can support you in reporting to police or help put you in touch with a GLLO near you if you wish.

For information and support, or to make a report to us, please contact the AVP on [email protected] or 02 9206 2116 or 1800 063 060.

Police Assistance line: 131 444, or in an emergency call 000.

INFO: http://www.acon.org.au/anti-violence

By Robert Knapman, ACON AVP coordinator.

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