Bedfordshire’s PCC, Kathryn Holloway, is marking LGBTQ+ History Month by sharing opportunities for support within the county.
The PCC’s victim support service Signpost can offer those who have experienced crime – including hate crime as a result of their gender or sexuality – access to trained Victim Care Coordinators to help provide support from specialists working in the specific area of LGBTQ+ related crime.
As Galop’s Hate Crime Report (2016) revealed that eight in 10 of their respondents had experienced anti LGBTQ+ hate crime and hate speech online in the last five years across the UK.
“This is a truly offensive fact that shows how very far we have to travel before we offer equality in life and fair, non-abusive treatment to all LGBTQ+ residents in this and other counties.
“I want all communities within Bedfordshire, without exception, to have appropriate support and access to well trained individuals who are familiar with their needs when it matters most, especially if experiencing crime.
“I will not accept that members of our LGBTQ+ communities should be treated in any respect like second class citizens as it is a mark of any civilised and educated society that we eradicate the prejudice they still experience. This is a live and current issue as the Galop poll makes abundantly clear,” said Commissioner Holloway.
Gill Richardson, a Victim Care Coordinator for Signpost stated: “We are here to support everyone who is a victim of crime in Bedfordshire. I am one of many trained staff at Signpost who offer practical advice and guidance.
“We are well linked to the issues that face victims of crime where the motive behind that crime has been linked to sexuality or gender identity. I want everyone experiencing that abuse to know we are here for them and we believe them”
In Bedfordshire, support for LGBTQ+ victims to report crimes and to provide them with practical and emotional support is available through Signpost, the victim service centre which is available on 0800 0282 887 or via the link https://www.signpostforbedfordshire.com/
Online hate crime may also be reported through Stonewall: https://www.report-it.org.uk/files/online-crime-2020_0.pdf
Bedfordshire Police has a specialist Hate Crime Unit, and the link can be found here: https://www.bedfordshire.police.uk/information-and-services/Crime/Hate-crime-and-hate-incidents/Hate-Crime#8611e406
Writer Maya Angelou is one of many individuals that the LGBTQ+ History campaign is celebrating to share their message this year. She was best known for her 1969 memoir, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the first non-fiction best-seller by an African-American woman. Her work reflects the theme of this year’s campaign – ‘the mind, body and spirit’ – and illustrates the author’s struggle with racist and homophobic abuse.