Press Release

Berlin, 17.05.2013

The number of incidents of homophobic violence remains high - Homophobic hate violence threatens democratic principles

MANEO presented its report for 2012 on the International Day Against Homophobia and Trans*phobia. State Secretary for Justice Alexander Straßmeir and the Berlin Police contact person for same- sex lifestyles Harald Kröger took part in the press conference. Mr Straßmeir said that the introduction of a special contact person at the Berlin Senate’s Department for Justice had been so well received that is had since been expanded into a part-time position.

16 May 2013: Press conference at MANEO. Pictured, from left to right, are Moritz Konradi (MANEO), Bastian Finke (MANEO), State Secretary for Justice Alexander Straßmeir and Harald Kröger, contact partner for same-sex lifestyles at Berlin Police. Photo © MANEO.16 May 2013: Press conference at MANEO. Pictured, from left to right, are Moritz Konradi (MANEO), Bastian Finke (MANEO), State Secretary for Justice Alexander Straßmeir and Harald Kröger, contact partner for same-sex lifestyles at Berlin Police. Photo © MANEO.

Every day, LGBT people are insulted or even physically at- tacked and harmed – even in Berlin. A total of 474 new incidents and tip-offs were reported to MANEO in 2012 (422 in 2011). Enough information was provided in 294 of these incidents to enable further evaluation (288 in 2011). There was a homophobic background in 202 incidents that took place in Berlin (201 in 2011). Of these, 191 of the incidents were against gay or male bisexuals and 11 against lesbians. Another 7 incidents were against trans*-persons. There were 71 incidents in Berlin that did not reveal a homophobic or transphobic background while 32 incidents happened outside Berlin.

MANEO Project Director Bastian Finke said: “The number of incidents remains at a high level. “It is shocking that these acts of violence are still taking place at the same level as before. That is a challenge for all areas of society. We can only drive back violence and defeat its causes if we take homophobic crime seriously.”

Berlin’s police force added to MANEO’s figures. The force’s contact person for same-sex life- styles Harald Kröger said: “In 2012, Berlin Police detected 90 acts that were orientated against sexual orientation.” The 2011 figure was 95. MANEO and Berlin Police assume that up to 90% of homophobic acts of violence go unreported. The latest figures offer no conclusive finding regarding the actual prevalence of homophobic acts of violence in Berlin, and neither an increase nor decrease in homophobic violence can be concluded based on the latest numbers.

The MANEO Report shows that main offences in anti-gay acts of violence are insults (26%; 2011: 30%), actual and aggravated bodily harm (25%; 2011: 21%), and assaults and threats (26%; 2011: 17%). Schöneberg is again the district where most incidents take place (29%; 2011: 27%), followed by Kreuzberg (15%; 2011: 17%) and Mitte (11%). In contrast to what is commonly accepted, these incidents take place mainly on public streets and transportation rather than locations on the LGBT scene.

Mr Finke said: “We must sustain our anti-violence efforts and our solidarity with, and support for, the victims. We have a lot of work ahead of us. As with other prejudice-motivated violence, homophobic hate violence puts our democratic society in danger. Essentially, it threatens democratic principles and structures.”

Multi-layered strategies are necessary in order to combat hate violence

As hate violence against LGBT people is a problem for all of society, multi-layered strategies are needed into order to act against it consistently.

In addition to better access to support services for fears and increased consideration of their fears and needs, the police and justice system need to made aware of the situation and trained appropriately. Homophobic crimes must be recognised as such so that they can be pursued. According to the OSZE, the lion’s share of prejudice-motivated crimes are not recognised or pursued, as the necessary educational work has not reached all areas of the police and justice system. Mr Kröger said that, as a result, multiplier training courses had been stepped up in the Berlin police force in the last 12 months. Mr Straßmeir said that prejudice-motivated crime was also receiving greater attention in training sessions at the Justice Department. The new contact person at Berlin’s Public Prosecution’s Office, Ms Ines Karl, contributed to this, he said.

MANEO, the gay anti-violence project in Berlin, has been operating for 23 years. The organisation works mainly in the fields of victim support, recording violence, violence prevention and empowerment. MANEO is partly funded by the Senate Department for Work, Integration and Women. More than 10% of the budget, currently EUR 11,000, must come from MANEO itself. Only rarely is MANEO allocated fines imposed in court proceedings. There is a need for im- provement here, something Mr Straßmeir himself confirmed.

 

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