A new approach to tackling hate crime and promoting diversity is underway in the Dumfries area of southern Scotland.

‘The Dumfries & Galloway Equalities Partnership’ was established in July and is holding its first joint event on 7th November, with guests including Lord Bracadale, who leads the Scottish Government review of hate crime legislation in Scotland.

The partnership involves D&G Multicultural Association, DG Voice, LGBT Youth Scotland and the region’s dedicated LGBT+ charity, D&G LGBT Plus. With a rolling coordinating role between the four organisations, they hope to identify opportunities to promote equality and diversity across the region and feed into local policy, improving the lives of people in Dumfries & Galloway.

Kerry Riddell, from LGBT Youth Scotland, said:

“All members of the Equalities Partnership have really welcomed the opportunity to work more closely together. The Partnership provides us with the opportunity to share resources, expertise, ideas and good practice as well as creating a strong joined up local voice for equality. We believe this will lead to better outcomes of the individuals and communities that we represent and support. In the longer term we hope that our work will result in a more equal and diverse region for everyone who lives in D&G.”

Official statistics for hate crime in the Dumfries & Galloway area have reduced in the year to March 2017 at 17 charges, down from 27 in 2015-16, although it is widely accepted that hate crime continues to be under-reported.  Since April 2017 there have been 11 crimes reported against LGBT+ people in the area.

dumfries hate crime - pic Daily Record
From L to R – PC Paul Murphy, David Townsend (Chair D&G LGBT+), service manager Johnathon Gallagher and volunteer coordinator Iain Campbell Pic: Dumfries News

The first event will be a chance for locals to come together and discuss issues around discrimination and hate crime, which will feed into the national review.  Lord Bracadale is exploring whether current hate crime legislation is the most effective approach for dealing with criminal conduct motivated by hatred, malice, ill-will or prejudice.

The meeting will take place between 4pm and 6pm at Woodbank in Dumfries on 7th November.  To take part, just get in touch with Johnathon Gallagher on 07893 652361 or email: johnathon@lgbtplus.org.uk

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