Australian LGBT+ liaison police officer takes own life
A gay police officer, who worked liaising with the LGBT+ community in Victoria, Australia, passed away by suicide on Friday (June 28).
Brenton Erkens-Goss provided specialised support to the LGBT+ community in the area, protecting them from hate crimes and family violence and building trust between the community and the police.
Facebook page Cop Humour Australia, which Erkens-Goss was a supporter of, said the officer had “tragically succumbed to his inner demons.”
Victoria charity The Code 9 Foundation, which works with members of the emergency services suffering with mental health conditions, changed their logo to black to pay their respects.
The charity posted on Facebook: “Brenton Erkens-Goss was one of Victoria Police’s LGBTI Liaison Officers who worked hard to build rapport and trust with the LGBTI community, and helped tackle prejudice-motivated crimes.
“Brenton also represented Victoria Police and attended the inaugural World LGBT Conference for Criminal Justice Professionals in Amsterdam in 2017.”
“RIP Brenton. You will be missed but never forgotten.”
The police officer worked with the LGBT+ community before he died
In an article published by Victoria Police in 2017, Erkens-Goss described the meaningful work he did with the LGBT+ community.
He said: “In one case recently I helped a transgender teenager who was experiencing family violence from her father who was withholding her medication.
“I mediated with her dad and helped them get counselling.
“Her father simply misunderstood how his daughter was feeling and didn’t understand what she was experiencing, through specialised counselling this has educated him.
“I strongly believe that everyone deserves to be treated equally and be able to live in their own skin without having to hide who they are.”
Victoria Police have struggled with winning back the trust of the LGBT+ community after raiding a gay club called Tasty in 1994.
463 patrons were detained in the club for seven hours, and were publicly strip-searched and cavity-searched.
Victoria Police officially apologised for the raid in 2014.
For confidential support on mental health in the UK call the Samaritans on 116 123, email firstname.lastname@example.org or attend a local Samaritans branch.
In the USA call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255.