If you experience a homophobic, biphobic or transphobic crime or incident, you can access peer and health support in your local community, but you can also formally report your experiences to an Garda Síochána who can investigate crime on your behalf.
If you witness a hate crime against someone else, you should check if they want to report it, and you can offer to be a witness to support them if they want to contact the gardaí. If you or someone else is in immediate danger or has experienced a serious crime that needs urgent attention, always call 999.
What can I do if I have been the victim of homophobia, biphobia, or transphobia?
If you have been the victim of homophobia, biphobia, or transphobia, what you can do about it often depends on where it happened to you.
Homophobia, biphobia, or transphobia in the workplace
If you have been discriminated against in the workplace, for example, you can make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission. Details on how to do this and the supports available to you are here.
Homophobia, biphobia, or transphobia in the provision of goods, services, accommodation, or education
If you have been discriminated against where someone was providing you with goods or services, accommodation or education then you can make a complaint to the Workplace Relations Commission. Details on how to do this and the supports available to you are here.
Victims of crime
If you have been the victim of a crime, then you should report your experience to An Garda Síochána. Reporting what has happened to you to the gardaí may be difficult. There is support available to help you to report what has happened to you. The Crime Victims Helpline (contact details below) can talk you through what will happen when you report a crime. If you can, bring someone with you to support you in making the report to the gardaí.
Sometimes we know instinctively if something is a crime or not – like assault or robbery. But it’s important to remember that other things, like blackmail, for example are criminal offences. Also it doesn’t need to happen in public for it to be a criminal offence – if someone assaults you in a private place like your home – or in a workplace – that is also a crime.
If you have been the victim of a crime, it’s really important to understand that you don’t need to hire a solicitor, or have any legal representation to make a report. You have no obligation to provide evidence to the gardaí that a crime occurred. It is their job to find that evidence. All you need to do is make them aware of what happened and their job is to investigate and prosecute that crime. It won’t cost you any money to report. In fact you may be entitled to some supports if you have been a victim of a crime.
Reporting an Anti-LGBT Hate crime to An Garda Síochána
A hate crime is a crime which the victim or any other person (such as a witness, community organization or police officer) perceives to have been motivated by bias or prejudice.
If you have been the victim of a hate crime, you have been the victim of a crime, and if you are comfortable doing so, you should report it to the gardaí. While there is no specific law which combats hate crime in Ireland, you have been the victim of a crime, and you will be treated as such if you report your experience.
If you have been the victim of an anti-LGBT hate crime, the gardaí can record either a homophobic or transphobic motivation on its computer system when it saves your report. There are 9 other motivation categories – age, disability, race, etc.
Reporting an Emergency
In the case of an emergency, always call 999 first, as this will ensure the fastest Garda response time.
Examples of an emergency are:
- Someone’s life being in danger or risk of serious injury.
- An incident/crime is still ongoing.
- An offender is still in the immediate vicinity of a crime or has just left.
Remember: Stay calm and stay on the line.
LGBT Liaision Officers
In Ireland, there are a number of gardaí who have had specific training in supporting members of the LGBT community. While there may not be an LGBT Liaision Officer in your local garda station, there should be one in a garda station near to you. Also, if you feel unable to go to the garda station, it is possible to request that an LGBT Liaision Officer call to your home, or meet you at a place that you feel comfortable talking to them. You can request that they come in plain clothes and an unmarked car if you do not want it made public that a garda is calling to your home.
Reporting an anti-LGBT hate crime after the fact
In a non-emergency situation, you can either visit your local Garda station , or you can ring your local station in advance and ask to make an appointment to speak to an LGBT liaison officer.
If you want the anti-LGBT motivation associated with the crime you experienced to be recorded, ensure that you clearly tell the Garda taking your report that you perceived the crime to be a homophobic, biphobic or transphobic crime, and ask them to record this as a discriminatory motivation. There is no specific recording category for Biphobia. However, an alternative for now is to ask for the crime to be recorded as homophobic and to ask the Garda to specify in the narrative that the crime was biphobic.
So that you can follow up on the investigation, ask for the PULSE number for your report. The PULSE number is an identifier that helps the police to find the incident you reported on their computer database.. You should also receive a letter by post containing the PULSE number of the incident you reported, as well as contact details for the garda who is your contact point, as well as support services that are available to you.
It is important to know that if you want the crime to be investigated, you must make a signed statement to the garda. The garda will ask you to say what happened to you in your own words, and they will write it down. This Garda will ask you to sign the statement after it is complete. If you need support, you can bring someone with you when you are making the statement. When making a statement about an anti-LGBT hate crime, it is important to provide details in the statement as to why you think you were a victim because of your sexual orientation or gender identity. These details might include the reasons why you perceive that:
- you were identified as an LGBT person
- which might relate, for example, to where you were, what activities you were engaged in, what you wear wearing, or who you were with
- you were targeted as an LGBT person
It is particularly important that any words said by the offender are recorded in full, even where these include foul language and/or any homophobic, biphobic or trasnphobic slurs.
Once you have finished giving your statement, the member of an Garda Síochána who took your statement will ask you to sign your name to the statement. You have a right to a copy of the statement, if you wish.
Following up on the progress of an investigation
You can follow up on the progress of your investigation by ringing the contact number provided to you when you made your report, or the details which were sent to you in the post. If you don’t get any contact from the gardaí for a couple of weeks after you make the statement, you should call back and ask to speak with the garda that took your statement.
Alternately, you can check on the status of the investigation by contacting the local Victim Services Office by telephone, email or post. The offices are open Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm. Victims services inform, advise, and support victims of crime.
Victim support services
As well as the garda victim services offices, there are also two other types of support you can access. The LGBT Helpline is a helpline which is staffed by members of the community who have been trained to support. You can contact them online, by phone, or on instant messenger. It is a confidential service.
Call: 1890 929 539
The Crime Victims Helpline is also a confidential listening and support service. It also provides information about crime victims’ rights and specialist services for victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and rape. It is staffed largely by volunteers, and as yet, those volunteers do not have specific training for supporting members of the LGBT community.
If you are not happy with how your report has been handled, you can talk to the investigating Garda, or with the local superintendent. If for any reason you do not want to do this, you can make a complaint to the Garda Ombudsman:
Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission
150 Upper Abbey Street