Monday, 1 June 2009

Survey to stop gay hate in Queensland: iPhone to be won

Researchers from Bond and Griffith Universities are looking for input from members of the gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered and intersexed (GLBTI) communities in Queensland who have experienced violence and harassment.

Anonymous surveys will ask questions about Queenslanders’ homophobic experiences in a bid to understand and provide better protection for the GLBTI communities. (Survey website www.stopgayhatenow.com)

According to a study conducted by the Australia Research Institute in 2003-2004, Queensland was identified as one of the least progressive states when it comes to attitudes about homosexuality. Griffith's Socio-Legal Adjunct Research Fellow Dr Alan Berman said his research aimed to develop legislative initiatives; increase awareness of crimes triggered by homophobic attitudes and improve victims’ access to appropriate policing services.

“Next to surveys, we are also holding six focus groups throughout metropolitan and regional Queensland, to explore the personal experiences of GLBTI persons,” Dr Berman said.

The research is in collaboration with Bond University and funded by Legal Practitioners Interest on Trust Accounts Fund. Professor Shirleene Robinson from Bond University said people could fill out the survey at the upcoming Brisbane Pride Festival stalls on Saturday 13 June.

“Griffith and Bond University stalls at Musgrave Park in South Brisbane will provide surveys and we encourage those who have experienced homophobic crimes to take a few minutes to fill out this vital information,” Professor Robinson said. “All respondents who fill out the survey, including online respondents, will enter the draw to win an Apple iPhone.” Dr Berman said it was critical to investigate the real and the perceived barriers in accessing justice for victims of homophobic crimes.

“When we understand the barriers, we need to ensure shifts in attitudes as well as changes in legislation,” Dr Berman said.

“Law alone does not change the rate of crime, there needs to be a change in legal enforcement agencies’ culture and the general population’s attitudes to prevent such devastating harassment, violence and crimes.”

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