A Daventry police sergeant has featured in a video campaign to end homophobic hate crime and reduce suicide amongst young gay people.
Sergeant Sam Dobbs, from the Daventry Safer Community Team, features in the ‘It Gets Better’ video which is part of a global campaign and was released on International Day Against Homophobia, Friday May 17.
For the first time, a collective of 36 lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGBT) police officers and staff from 16 UK police forces have told their stories, providing a message of transformation, hope and encouragement to vulnerable young gay people. The video was organised by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) and The College of Policing.
Sgt Dobbs added: “Being young and gay is very hard and we want people to know that the police family is a very approachable and tolerant one.
“Police officers are not a group of cold people who have no understanding of what others are living with, we are all human and have all been through very different experiences in our lives, enabling us to empathise with others, including young, gay people.
“I would urge anyone who is suffering from any form of abuse or crime to contact us, by calling 101.”
In 2012, lesbian, gay and bisexual equality charity Stonewall surveyed 1,600 young gay people and found 55 per cent of respondents had experienced homophobic bullying, six per cent had received a death threat and 23 per cent had tried to take their own life. They also found 56 per cent had deliberately self-harmed and 36 per cent of respondents said they never told anyone about what they had experienced.
It Gets Better is a global online campaign with more than 50,000 user-generated YouTube video uploads of support letting young LGBT people know that they are not alone and that help is available.
Opening the video is the ACPO lead for LGBT issues Assistant Chief Constable Steph Morgan, he said: “Growing up as a young lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans person is often a day-to-day struggle which can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety and suicidal feelings. The It Gets Better project exists to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just make it through their teenage years. We want young LGBT people to know ‘It Gets Better’ they‘re not alone; and we’re here to help.”
Stonewall Policy Officer Alice Ashworth said: “Initiatives such as this are a fantastic way for the police to reach out to the lesbian, gay and bisexual people in their communities. Stonewall’s research shows that far too often gay people don’t report hate crimes or incidents. Videos like this show that the police can successfully talk directly to gay people, giving them confidence that it does – and will – get better.”
The video offers heartfelt messages of support and encouragement to young LGBT people who are struggling with their sexual identity or bullied for being ‘different’. The forty LGBT police officers tell their collective story about the challenge of growing up and living their lives as LGBT people.
The College of Policing, which is responsible for driving standards across the police service, has also supported the development of the DVD.
The College of Policing equality, diversity and human rights unit lead Everett Henry said: “It’s important that policing has a voice within the LGBT community. As a reflection of society, the service has many members who identify themselves as LGBT. These individuals are key to developing an inclusive and effective police service contributing also to helping the wider service tackle homophobic hate crime and supporting staff and victims who come forward. This DVD will hopefully assist in further breaking down barriers in confidence and trust in policing through their willingness to share personal experiences and stories of being LGBT.”
To watch the video visit youtube
Anyone experiencing hate crime can call police on 101 or can report anonymously online at www.report-it.org.uk