Homophobic law set to change thanks to nouse

THE HOMOPHOBIC hate attack reported in nouse has prompted North Yorkshire Police to consider changing the classification of these attacks from ‘diversity’ to ‘hate’. This would allow victims to report an attack anonymously, instead of being forced into the trauma of providing detailed witness statements.

John Rose, SU Education and Welfare Officer, commented: “I gave the police copies of the paper. A lot of the comment pages and analysis was done from a very positive angle and I showed him that, and a couple of old copies of nouse and I said there you go have a look through them; this is what students think. These are the kinds of things that are happening, and a lot of this goes unreported.”

York is the only place in England, which does not designate homophobic crimes as‘hate attacks’. Rose is infuriated by the current law, “I think the resistance is mainly along the lines of anonymous reporting, because I think the police still think they can handle every crime that comes their way. And they would like to handle it and prosecute in every case.”

“They would rather not have an anonymous reporting systems. Because they think people will report a crime when it happens. I think they’re still living in this cloud-cuckoo land, where they think people will report crimes when they happen.”

Steve Page, the University Welfare Officer, stressed that he was willing for the designation change to be explored. “In principal I can see the benefits of having an anonymous reporting mechanism, and if that’s not available then I certainly support attempts to have discussions about how that become available.”

Page expressed concern that this name change is only part of the problem: “It doesn’t sound like the issue is terminology, it’s the mechanism. Because what you call it in the end only matters in as much as you want to call it whatever will most enable people to report it.”

Adamant that a change in the law was vital, Rose stated: “As far as a lot of people are concerned they know this happens and they don’t report crimes, which is bad because they should be reporting those crimes. The police can use the statistics for prevention.”

“One of the great things about hate crime reporting, is that if I’m walking somewhere and I get a load of abuse from a group of people. Then if I reported that then although, it could be perceived as disturbing the peace, it’s not possible to prosecute.”

“But it gives them an idea of where homophobic or racist hot spots are, where tensions are happening and where that’s likely to flare into violence and so they can use that as a basis for prevention.”

Rose hoped the police would listen to these concerns, “ they can make sure that they actually do stuff right this time, because there’s great potential there for us to have a really effective police force.”