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New South Wales, News

ACON supports calls for judicial inquiry into historical hate crimes

The final parliamentary inquiry report on historical hate crimes against LGBTIQ people in New South Wales, recommending a judicial inquiry into unsolved murders, has been welcomed by ACON, the state’s leading LGBTIQ health organisation.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said a judicial inquiry will shed further light on a dark chapter in the state’s history and help with healing the trauma experienced by many.

“The attacks committed against sexuality and gender diverse people in New South Wales over decades have left a painful legacy for the loved ones of victims, survivors, their families, and the entire community, which was compounded by the slow and inadequate responses to many of these crimes,” Parkhill said. 

“ACON strongly supports a further judicial inquiry, as recommended in the final report into the inquiry.”

The inquiry into Gay and Transgender Hate Crimes between 1970 and 2010 was launched in 2018 by the New South Wales Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues. 

It sought to investigate institutional responses to violence against people in sexuality and gender diverse communities during this period. 

The second and final report, tabled this week, includes a range of findings and recommendations to foster healing and deliver justice for loved ones of victims and survivors of these historical crimes.

The report stated the New South Wales Police Force failed in its responsibility to properly investigate historical hate crimes. 

It found that victims carry enduring physical, mental, and emotional trauma and that acknowledging past wrongs by those who failed to protect and deliver justice is a necessary step towards healing.

The report also recommended measures including ensuring that adequate victim support services are made available to those impacted, further state government funding for the completion of the Bondi Memorial in Marks Park honouring the victims and survivors of hate crimes, and ensuring that the policing system adequately captures anti-LGBTIQ hate crimes.

“ACON strongly supports all the recommendations outlined in the report and stands ready to work with the government and other agencies to ensure they are actioned,” said Parkhill.

Nicholas Stewart, Senior Partner at Dowson Turco Lawyers, said that the firm was heartened by the report and supported all of its recommendations. 

“Dowson Turco Lawyers have been working hard with ACON and a range of other partners to ensure that the pain and injustice many victims and survivors have endured are known and are never repeated again,” said Stewart.

ACON provided a comprehensive submission and gave evidence during hearings. 

Parkhill said he was pleased to see many of ACON’s submission points were considered and responded to in the final report. 

However, other key areas in ACON’s submission were not addressed, such as the establishment of an office for equity, support for a government-funded mainstream education campaign, and a public apology by the State Government and the New South Wales Police Force. 

Parkhill said that ACON will continue to advocate for these through other policy settings and opportunities.

“Nevertheless, this report builds on our ongoing work that supports people impacted by historical hate crimes and is an important next step in the journey towards achieving justice for the loved ones of victims and survivors,” Parkhill said.

He acknowledged the strong support the inquiry received from parliamentarians across the political spectrum and commended them for their efforts, as well as thanking the many organisations, partners, and other stakeholders for their contributions to the historic inquiry.

“And of course, we thank all the community members who provided submissions and gave evidence at hearings for the inquiry,” said Parkhill. 

“Their bravery, strength, and resilience inspire and propel us in our continued efforts to fight for justice, heal, and eradicate homophobia and transphobia in New South Wales.”

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