Wednesday, April 24, 2024

NSW inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes report released

The NSW Government has today released the final report by the Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes, concluding the landmark review.

The final report contains seven recommendations relating to specific cases, as well as 12 recommendations relating to investigative and record management practices and procedures, including: 

  • Establishment of a review or audit by NSW Police of all unsolved homicides for the period 1970 to 2010, including review of exhibits and those that should be submitted for forensic testing in light of possible technological advances. 
  • Several recommendations relating to the enhancement of the Unsolved Homicide Team (UHT) including a review of practices, procedures and resourcing of the UHT, and provision of training.
  • Implementation of mandatory and ongoing training for NSW Police officers concerning the LGBTIQ community, including in relation to LGBTIQ bias crime, conscious and unconscious bias in investigations, and the engagement of appropriately qualified experts to ensure international best practice in NSW.

NSW Attorney General Michael Daley said the comprehensive work undertaken by the Inquiry had shone a light on some of the darkest events in the state’s history.

“I know many members of our community have been deeply impacted by the events examined by the Inquiry and the reopening of wounds that has been a difficult but necessary part of this process,” he said.

“We hope that in a small way this process will have provided some level of closure and healing.

“Our work here is far from over and our focus now shifts to ensuring we deliver a meaningful and decisive response., We owe nothing less to victims, their families and friends.”

Led by the Honourable Justice John Sackar (the Commissioner) and first launched in April 2022, the Inquiry looked into the unsolved deaths of LGBTIQ people that may have been hate crimes between 1970 and 2010 that had been the subject of previous investigation by the NSW Police Force. 

In particular, the Inquiry looked into the 88 deaths or suspected deaths of men potentially motivated by gay hate bias that were investigated by Strike Force Parrabell.

In a series of public hearings, the deaths of 32 people were examined in detail.

The Inquiry also looked at social, legal and cultural factors affecting the LGBTIQ community, as well as the nature of the relationship between the LGBTIQ community and the NSW Police Force over the 40-year period.

“I thank all of those who came forward with information or otherwise assisted the Inquiry – for your contributions and staunch advocacy for partners, family members, friends and community,” said NSW Premier, Chris Minns.

“It takes courage to relive the traumatic experiences you have shared as partners, family and friends who have lost loved ones, and as a community that has suffered unimaginable injustice.”

“Thank you also to Commissioner Sackar and the entire Inquiry team for your tireless work in pursuing justice for the victims of these crimes.”

“The Government will now take the time required to thoroughly consider the Commission’s report.”

In the course of this work the Inquiry examined more than 150,000 documents, issued more than 400 summonses, made public appeals for information, and held public and private hearings.

The final report comprising almost 3,500 pages is reflective of the extensive work undertaken by the dedicated team of barristers, solicitors and investigators.

The Inquiry engaged ACON Pride Counselling to offer free and confidential counselling to LGBTIQ people participating in the Inquiry.

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