During our search for statistics on the violence against LGBT+ people, we eventually came in contact with the Pink Police Force in Rotterdam. In an interview with NU.nl, they told us they saw an increase in the amount and intensity of incidents.
In the previous article, we explained that numbers are important in Dutch society, both to expose problems and to bring about change. In this article, we will explain how data was collected in the past years, how this was done in the year 2021 and what Pink Police Network Rotterdam does better.
How the Police registered in the past years
Peter Koop, a journalist, noted in an article in the Gaykrant in 2020 that the registration of violence against the rainbow community in recent years left much to be desired. Choices made by the National Police, possibly to improve, unfortunately did not have the desired effect.
In 2014, the police changed the way they recorded and reported incidents. After this decision, the figures for violent incidents against the rainbow community were remarkably low from 2015 onwards. For example, they registered about 500 incidents in the years 2010 to 2013, but only 185 incidents from 2015 onwards. This strikingly large difference has yet to be explained.
2019, even more decline
Another decline in quality within the registration occurred in 2019. The Police then decided to merge the figures of anti-LHBT+ violence with the incidents against employees with a public duty, such as Agents and BOAs.
So if, for example, a policeman was called out for being "gay", then this was numerically equated to a gay man who had been beaten up in the street because of what he looked like. So in the statistics, this was already 2 incidents. This meant that the figures were no longer representative of the actual violence that took place.
We specifically saw this in Amsterdam, for example, where in 2018 about 126 incidents against the rainbow community had taken place. Whereas in 2019, approximately 236 incidents of discrimination based on LGBT+ violence took place. It is impossible to find out here how many of these incidents were actually directed against the rainbow community, or whether this increase concerned, for example, insults against police officers. So what the increase of the 120 incidents includes remains unclear.
The figures of the Pink Police Network Rotterdam
When the chairwoman of the Pink Police Network Rotterdam, Iris Bekker, appeared in the news and mentioned that they saw a trend, we immediately contacted her.
At the end of December 2021, a conversation ensued about the numerical substantiation of their finding. The main point that came out was that it was difficult to draw conclusions from the figures they had.
At the moment, the National Police still does not have a good system for registering the specific violence against the rainbow community. They also lack the budget to adapt it or to have the available data analysed.
It is good to realise that an organisation like the Pink Police Network exists because officers do this voluntarily next to their regular jobs. They go to festivals, gatherings, are present at Aids-day, memorials, are present at prides and give advice to colleagues within the police force, but most of all they register violence against the rainbow community. In addition, you can formally report incidents to them if necessary.
Pink in Blue is a branch of the police force that specifically handles matters related to the rainbow community.
For a number of years now, some volunteers of Pink Police Network Rotterdam run through all relevant files at the end of the year. Based on this, they make an internal analysis of the anti-LHBT+ violence. This results in statistics, which they summarise in a diagram. This allows them to see an annual trend, at least for Rotterdam.
Good figures, however, always require an explanation of how they were established. They never embrace all incidents, because many people still live in the closet and there is a lot of shame. Some of these people will never report an incident. If they do, they will often leave out the LGBT+ aspect.
LGBT Violence - Notify or report?
If you are dealing with LGBT+ violence, discrimination or intimidation you can always report this to the Police. Of course this is possible via the Pink in Blue Network but also directly to the Police. With a notification you inform the Police about the incident, but basically no investigation will be started yet. Notifying the police is important, because in this way the problem can be assessed. Perhaps you are not the only one.
Based on your notification and that of others, the Police can make a plan to work preventively. In addition, if you make a report at a later time, or perhaps even press charges, it will be taken into account that you have already done so.
If you have become a victim of violence, you can report this to the police. When you report a crime, you officially inform the police of what has happened. By doing this, you are showing that you want the perpetrator to be prosecuted for what they have done to you.
If the Police have enough information, they will start an investigation. On the basis of this investigation, an offender can be arrested, questioned and prosecuted. You can also use the police report to recover the damages from the perpetrator. In addition, the Police can take other actions on the basis of your report, such as conducting more frequent patrols in certain places in your neighbourhood.
How important is reporting?
As we have already indicated, collecting statistics is important in order to assess the problem of violence against the rainbow community. Reporting therefore contributes indirectly to longer-term safety. Without these figures one cannot prove the necessity and take measures to protect the rainbow community where needed.
Pink in Blue is ready to help us day and night. So don't be afraid to contact them. Our personal experience with them is very positive and we think you will too
Written by Max Govers and Arjan Spannenburg
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