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Manchester police become the first to record LGBT domestic abuse

By Umar Sarwar

A groundbreaking new scheme from Greater Manchester Police will enable officers to record domestic abuse incidents involving LGBT couples.

The D66 code will be used whenever an LGBT citizen contacts the police, officially marking the incident as coming from an LGBT relationship in police logs.

The initiative has come after a complete absence of statistics for LGBT domestic abuse in Britain.

The D66 code will be the first of its kind to register the sexual orientation and gender identity of complainants.

“There were certain groups that were underreporting and we looked at how that could be assisted,” Detective Constable Sarah Harris told BuzzFeed News. “One of the things that came up was that we don’t have any figures to show how many [LGBT] people report domestic abuse to the police.”

The scheme will undergo a six-month trial period within the city centre, north and south of Manchester, and if deemed successful will be rolled out across Greater Manchester.

“This is another strong step in the right direction in dispelling some myths,” said Harris. “It gives people the confidence to report crimes in the knowledge that it will be dealt with appropriately – we want to encourage victims and friends and family of victims to report the issue and have the confidence to come forward.”

According to LGBT domestic abuse charity Broken Rainbow, many LGBT individuals avoid calling abuse services or reporting crimes because this would involve coming out.

However, the charity have completed five weeks of three-hour training with Greater Manchester Police’s frontline staff, consisting of “detailed understanding of the complexities of domestic abuse within same-sex relationships.”

Emma Baldry, the charity’s training coordinator, said: “This new code will enable Greater Manchester police to collect data that will give us a more accurate picture of the extent of LGBT domestic abuse in the Greater Manchester area … and hopefully other forces across the UK will follow their lead.”

Words: Andrew Headspeath

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