National LGBT rights organization LGL is delighted to present the “Toolkit on the Needs of Victims Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic crime”. This publication is a result of the work of a group of international and national experts. The practical guide was produced in the framework of two projects – “#NOH8LT: Developing Effective Response to LGBT* Hate Crimes” supported by the US State Department and “Accommodating the Needs of the Victims of Homophobic and Transphobic Hate Crimes – Raising the Competencies of Law Enforcement Institutions”. The project was supported by the European Commission within the General Programme ‘Fundamental Rights and Justice’ and carried in partnership with Campaign Against Homophobia (Poland), Zagreb Pride (Croatia), Hatter Society (Hungary), Association LGL (Lithuania) and Mozaika (Latvia).
One of the reasons for bringing this project and publication to life was the adoption of Directive 2012/29/EU by the European Parliament and the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA (hereinafter – the Victims’ Rights Directive). This new legal framework places new obligations on the state’s law enforcement officials as well as introduces specific measures that should be applied in cases of victims of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) motivated hate crimes.
The toolkit was elaborated to provide expert knowledge to all potential law enforcement officials who might have contact with SOGI-motivated hate crimes victims and equip them with relevant tools and expertise in order to avoid generating secondary victimisation and unnecessary trauma during the investigation and court procedures. We also hope that understanding the needs of the victims and developing effective responses to homophobic, biphobic and transphobic hate crimes will add to mutual trust building and will result in higher reporting of these incidents.
The first part of the toolkit focuses on the special needs of the victims of crimes motivated by hatred and prejudices; it explains and identifies the results of the traumatic experience and in which way it affects the victim, provides a number of explanations why victims of crime are often reluctant when it comes to reporting their violent experience, and this is of special importance in crimes motivated by prejudice towards LGBT persons. Understanding the phenomenon of underreporting seems to play a crucial role in designing proper tools for state officials involved in justice system. It also contains the overview of principles stipulated by the Directive. The second part of the toolkit present the instruments adapted to the national legislation and practices, that seek to effectively implement victims’ rights as regulated by the Directive, e.g. the needs assessment form, guidelines for the police officers, prosecutors and so forth. It also contains vocabulary to the LGBT specific terminology.
In most general sense the toolkit focuses on the situation of LGBT victims of crime and the special needs that might appear when processing their complaints. Since the Directive came into force it is no longer left to the ‘good will’ of the state to introduce special procedures and tools that would prevent discriminatory reactions of the representatives of justice system. The Directive obliged Member States to become inclusive and understand the needs of LGBT people who happened to be victims of crime. In order to help in understanding the meaning of respective Directive requirements, the toolkit authors contributed with a detailed description of how to implement these into real life and what they actually mean.
The toolkit is presented and serves as integral part of the methodology of the ongoing trainings for students and professionals working with the victims of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes (the law enforcement representatives).