On September 28th, 2017 the National LGBT* Rights Organization LGL together with its international partners will be launching the mobile application and reporting website UNI-FORM at the European Parliament, in Brussels. This online mechanism for reporting homophobic and (or) transphobic hate crimes will be available on the web, on the AppleStore and on GooglePlay, and will be functional in nine EU Member States, namely in Portugal, Spain, United Kingdom, Belgium, Malta, Hungary, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania. The UNI-FORM is the only online reporting platform that is specific for hate crimes and online hate speech targeting LGBTI persons and (or) persons perceived to be LGBTI.
The online mechanism can be used by victims, witnesses and (or) any other person who wants to report a bias motivated incident. The reports can be anonymous or personal data can be provided for official investigation proceedings. Any submitted report will always be received by the responsible LGBTI organization in the corresponding country and might also be received by the national police force (this is a country-specific possibility due to different national legislation).
UNI-FORM is the first-ever online platform connecting LGBTI NGOs and police forces in EU countries to work together to encourage reporting and tackle LGBTI hate crime and online hate speech. “The negative phenomenon of hate crimes against LGBTI people in Lithuania is defined by underrerporting – victims and witnesses simply do not approach the competent national institutions. We hope that the UNI-FORM platform will encourage our community members to speak up,” – commented the LGL‘s Policy Coordinator (Human Rights) Mr. Tomas Vytautas Raskevičius.
Why is this Important?
Homophobic and transphobic abuse, violence and harassment is a problem across the EU. However, the information about violence and harassment against LGBTI people is very limited because of the underreporting of such experiences. The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights’ (FRA) largest EU-wide survey of the LGBT community to date (93,079 respondents) found:
- 26% of LGBT people had been attacked or threatened with violence at home or elsewhere;
- this number rose to 35% for transgender people;
- almost one third (29 %) of those who did not report the most serious incident of violence feared a homophobic or transphobic reaction from the police.
UNI-FORM wants to change this.
The official launch of the mobile application and the website will take place at the Paul-Henri Spaak building in the European Parliament, as part of the Conference “Towards empowering LGBT Victims of hate crime and online hate speech and building trust with security forces”. The conference starts at 9 AM with representatives of the European Commission, European Parliament, Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU, ILGA-Europe and the civil society organizations across the EU. This UNI-FORM project, financed by the European Commission, is coordinated by ILGA Portugal, involves a network of NGOs from Belgium, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Spain and the United Kingdom and has the support of ILGA-Europe.