LGBTIQ hate crime inquiry delivers final report

Pictured: Richard Slater

A report from an inquiry into LGBTIQ hate crimes has made 19 recommendations.

The Special Commission of Inquiry has been investigating the suspicious deaths or unsolved murders of LGBTIQ people between 1970 and 2010.

One of those cases was 69-year-old Richard Slater who died in hospital in December 1980, three days after being found with critical head injuries in a toilet block in Newcastle West. His death was one of 32 looked into as part of the probe.

Commissioner Justice John Sackar published the final report on Thursday and in it, called for mandatory training for Police officers concerning the LGBTIQ community, a review of the Unsolved Homicide Team and forensically re-examining exhibits from the unsolved murders in light of possible technological advances.

Justice Sackar has also recommended fresh inquests on a number of the cases.

Police Commissioner Karen Webb says the Police Force acknowledges the hurt and suffering from the actions and attitudes of the past.

“It is deeply regrettable and while I cannot undo what has occurred previously, I give you my commitment today that NSWPF is determined to uphold the policies, education, and training now entrenched in the practices of modern policing which did not exist 30 years ago.

“As noted in the report NSWPF has made significant efforts since the 1990s to reassess and improve the ways in which it relates to the LGBTIQ+ community and responds to LGBTIQ+ concerns.

“This is an ongoing priority for our organisation as we seek to serve the community of NSW with respect, fairness and inclusivity.

“I also acknowledge the findings and the significant work undertaken by the Special Commission of Inquiry into LGBTIQ+ Hate Crimes.

“This is a lengthy report and it is incumbent on our organisation that we allocate the appropriate time to review the report and its recommendations,” Commissioner Webb said.

The state government has also committed to considering the contents of the report and will respond in due course.

NSW Attorney General Michael Daley says our work here is far from over.

“The comprehensive work undertaken by the Inquiry has shone a light on some of the darkest events in our states 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.

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

“Our focus now shifts to ensuring we deliver a meaningful and decisive response. We owe nothing less to victims, their families and friends,” Mr Daley said.

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