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Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community (LGBT) have been coming out in greater numbers to report and speak out against gender-based violence. And head of the Victims and Witness Support Unit of the Police Service Margaret Sampson-Browne is calling on the police to be more compassionate towards LGBT citizens and to take their reports seriously.
She made the comment at the launch of a programme titled, Integrating Gender-based Violence Services with Sexual and Reproductive Health Services for Young People, at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain. Sampson-Browne said while there were many cases which still went unreported by the LGBT community for fear of ridicule and stigmatisation, some homosexuals and lesbians were finding the courage to make reports. She said the unit had two such reports last year and none for this year to date.
“Violence is violence perpetrated by anybody. Whether it is same sex, opposite sex, adults or children we have to deal with it and leave all the emotions behind.” Saying training was critical for the police, she said there was “some level” of training but this was insufficient. “We need to train our investigators to address situations like that so that people can feel comfortable knowing that they exist in a domestic-violence situation and they could come to the police and get a response,” she said.
She said there have also been more reports of men being physically and emotionally battered by their wives.