A 24-hour homophobic and transphobic telephone hotline run by Kent Police aims to ensure that all hate crimes in the county are reported and investigated.
The force has spoken of its commitment to tackle these crimes ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia (IDAHO) on Saturday.
In a recent case two women from Whitstable were found guilty of homophobic harassment.
One woman received a 24-month supervision order and was ordered to pay £625 costs.
The other was given an immediate jail sentence of 150 days.
To mark IDAHO, Kent Police Kent County Council will hold a seminar this Saturday afternoon at the Kent Police College in Maidstone.
Assistant Chief Constable Dave Ainsworth commented:
“We understand how important it is for anyone who has experienced hate crime to have immediate access to advice and support.
“The reporting line meets that need. We urge the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to use it so we can work together to ensure offenders are prosecuted.
“We believe hate crime is under-reported.”
There were 165 crimes involving homophobic prejudice and 12 of transphobic prejudice during the April 2007 to March 2008 period.
At the seminar Mark Carrington from Kent’s Crown Prosecution Service will speak about the prosecution of hate crime in the county and victim support.
Mick Cronin, community liaison officer for Kent Police, and Roger Newman MBE, from the Alzheimer’s Society’s lesbian and gay network, will speak about the Kent Homophobic and Transphobic Reporting Line.
The Kent Homophobic and Transphobic Reporting Line offers round-the-clock advice to anyone who has experienced homophobic or transphobic crime.
Call handlers have been trained to deal with sensitive incidents and can transfer crime reports to the police. The number is 0800 328 9162.
More information can be found on the Kent Police website.