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Aussie Police Ignored Gay Hate Crimes For Decades

Aussie Police Ignored Gay Hate Crimes For Decades

New South Wales officers treated hate crimes with "acceptance or indifference" to rash of hate in '70s, '80s, '90s and later, report finds.

Police around Sydney, Australia ignored--and at times even accepted--hate crimes against LGBTQ citizens for decades, according to preliminary findings of parliamentary investigation.

A standing committee on social issues researched response to hate crimes against gay and transgender victims between 1970 and 2010 in New South Wales, as reported by The Guardian.

The report found troubling indifference among officers, which in turn created a dangerous environment for LGBTQ individuals.

"Even with legislative change following the decriminalisation of homosexuality in 1984," writes committee chair Shayne Mallard, "bias attitudes were still being perpetuated within the broader community with a legacy that is still keenly experienced today,"

Legislative leaders began research after several victims of significant crimes went public with tales of police refusing to seriously investigate abuse.

Alan Rosendale last May shared his story with the ABC of a 1989 attack in an Oxford park where gay men frequently met up. A witness provided police license plate numbers of the attackers but the crime was never solved. He recalls hearing a group of men shout "There's one, get him" before he was assaulted.

Rosendale later pulled a police report and found they'd misspelled his name and put the wrong birthdate, had described his attackers as simply skinheads.

Police since acknowledged the crime wasn't taken seriously enough.

"But moving forward, I think we've come along way. Alan's case would certainly be handed differently today." Assistant Police Commissioner Tony Crandell told ABC reporters.

[Related: US Hate and extremism are on a historic rise in the United States, according to a civil rights group that tracks hate-driven organizations.]

Rosendale is one of four men whose stories were prominently featured in the committee's preliminary findings.

Researchers recommended a new study look specifically at hate crimes committed in rural Australia, where individuals were more isolated and may have faced greater risk than in urban areas like Oxford and Sydney.

Ultimately, police acceptance of crimes against queer people proved so pervasive it created a more dangerous environment.

"The ensuing violence and crime against gay and transgender people, particularly in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, was shocking, abhorrent and all too common," the report reads.

"Amidst this stood a NSW police force and a broader criminal justice system with a culture influenced by the social values of the time."

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