In 2018, 125 files relating to acts of homophobia were processed by Unia, an increase of 38% compared to the average of the last five years. But What does the police ?
Last May, as a prelude to Belgian Pride, Unia published its latest statistics on homophobia. Even though Belgium was a pioneer about same-sex marriage, the LGBT+ community remains oppressed. “In theory, most people have no problem with same-sex marriage until they see two men walking hand in hand. It is at these times that we observe an underlying homophobia in different groups ranging from intolerant neighbors to students from the far right. ” Patrick Charlier, director of Unia, told the press.
The fruit of a collaboration between the Rainbow House and the Brussels Region, a project to collect data on violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was launched. The objective is to have a more reliable image of homophobic and transphobic acts in the Brussels Region. With “All Genders Welcome“, we raise awareness in municipalities, CPAS and public bodies, in particular with a series of training courses on LGBT+ topics for their staff members.
Obviously, that does not solve everything. Even if the numbers are on the rise, a significant number of victims don’t dare to complain to the police. This reality is the basis of training for Brussels police officers to ensure an adequate reception and good follow-up regarding these complaints. Several regional and federal organizations are working alongside Rainbow House on this important aspect.
Active for almost one year, a portal has been created and is managed by several operators already mentioned above. The goal was to have a single place to receive all reports of homophobic acts, whether victimized or witnessed, even anonymously. Its use doesn’t replace the filing of a complaint with the police, but it is complementary. As we have just mentioned, the analysis of testimonies makes it possible to better receive and support victims outside the judicial framework but also to make it possible to make recommendations to the competent authorities and thus prevent other acts from being committed. In addition, you can always go to the office at the Rainbow House, organized on Wednesdays between 16:00 and 18:30 and on Fridays between 16:00 and 19:00.