Zagreb - The parliamentary Gender Equality Committee on Thursday discussed the prevention of violence against the LGBT community in Croatia, stating the need to prevent homophobia and violence.
Violence should be treated as a hate crime and not as a misdemeanour, which is generally the case, and education is necessary to fight prejudices against the LGBT community in every sphere, from health care to the judiciary, it was said.
Gender equality ombudswoman Visnja Ljubičić said 3.3% of the complaints she received were about sexual orientation and 2.7% about gender identity and expression. She said LGBT persons were reluctant to report violence out of shame, lack of trust in the police and prosecutors' offices, and fear from victimisation and stigmatisation, from long proceedings, perpetrators, few criminal proceedings and failure to recognise hate crimes.
Ljubičić said a survey showed that 48% of high school students considered homosexuality a disease, 50% would ban homosexuals from public speaking, 65% thought homosexuals should not flaunt their orientation, and 29% thought homosexuals should be prohibited from working with children. She said another survey showed that 75% of LGBTIQ persons experienced some form of violence because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
She concluded public figures used hate speech in public, that LGBT persons were denied rights which heterosexuals had, and that it was necessary to publicly condemn homophobic statements as absolutely unacceptable. She also underlined the need to raise awareness of the status of LGBTIQ persons and demand that the problems be solved. (Hina)