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What stops LGBTI people from accessing LGBTI police liaison officers?

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Dr Angela Dwyer and Dr Matthew Ball, from the QUT Crime and Justice Research Centre, with Dr Christine Bond from Griffith University, recently conducted a workshop with the NSW Police Force (at the NSW Police Academy, Goulburn, NSW) and the Queensland Police Service (QPS Headquarters Roma Street, QLD) about their completed research project on LGBTI police liaison officers. The project, conducted with researchers from Sydney Law School, Dr Murray Lee and Dr Thomas Crofts, examined the reasons why LGBTI people did not seek support from LGBTI police liaison officers across Queensland, New South Wales, and Western Australia.

The research project was the first research to document the issues regarding LGBTI police liaison programs in Australia. Through a questionnaire and follow-up interviews with LGBTI people and LGBTI police liaison officers, the researchers found that even though police-LGBTI relations have improved over time, there is still more work to be done. While a lot of LGBTI people know about liaison officers, still very few would seek them out for support for a range of reasons, including: past negative police experiences with police; different expectations about the liaison role; not wanting to be a nuisance to police; a lack of access to liaison officers; the limited visibility of the liaison program; and because some general duties police do good work with LGBTI people.

This research suggests that all police officers ought to be trained to understand LGBTI issues, not just the liaison officers. It also shows that police organisations with LGBTI police liaison services need to actively market the service and provide resources for their liaison officers to do outreach work. It is hoped that the full reports of this research will be released by December 2015.

See further for background about the research:

Dwyer, A. & Ball, M. (2012) GLBTI police liaison services: a critical analysis of existing literature. In Bartkowiak-Theron, Isabelle & Travers, Max (Eds.) Proceedings of the Australian and New Zealand Critical Criminology Conference, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS, pp. 11-18.

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