An organisation that helps victims of hate crimes, sexual abuse and violence have been given over £35,000 by the new Ministry of Justice.
Galop’s award comes at a time when homophobic hate crimes are widely under-reported due to fear, humiliation or lack of information on the importance of reporting.
A lack of confidence in police and statutory services is also a factor.
According to a survey by the National Advisory Group, 70% of LGBT people are fearful of reporting incidents to the police.
Galop is one of the organisations who work closely with the authorities on these issues and try to make people report in order to make homophobic hate crime more visible in the statistics.
The group relies on donations and volunteers and the grant of £35,122 from the Ministry of Justice will help secure their work.
“Galop is absolutely delighted to have received this funding from the Victims Fund,” Debbie Gold, chief executive of Galop, told PinkNews.co.uk
“The funding will allow us to continue our vital work supporting LGBT people in London who have been victims of sexual abuse, either now, or in the past.
“LGBT people who have experienced sexual abuse often feel unable to approach the police, or tell anyone about their experiences.
“Now, they contact us and tell us about their experience. We can pass on the report to the police, anonymously if the person prefers.
“We can also provide support throughout the criminal justice system, and link people in with support services.”
Galop’s direct services to victims include online help, a phone help-line – Galop took over 200 calls between April 2005 and March 2006 – and a service where incidents can be reported anonymously on their website.
While providing direct help and support, Galop also works as a consultant for the Metropolitan Police and the London Boroughs of Southwark and Greenwich, as well as the Home Office.
They conduct research and organise events such as film screenings to raise public awareness of homophobic hate crimes.
Galop was founded the 1980s, as a group of volunteer lawyers who assisted gay and lesbians in legal matters and investigated the ill-treatment of gays and lesbians by the police.
In the past years, Galop has worked closely with the police and were asked to sit on the Metropolitan Police’s community Gold Group after the murder of Jody Debrowski.
The number of calls to their help-line has increased and they have assisted with more reports.
What at first looks like an increase in demand actually seems to be the effect of making Galop’s services more widely known and of LGBT people’s faith in their services.