On the same day that Mary trained North Yorkshire Police, she met the newly promoted chief constable, Lisa Winward. Mary quizzed Lisa about the inability of police to discuss or divulge data about hate crime in health and social care. Lisa used to sit on the safeguarding board. Is it the case that incidents are being logged as safeguarding only, not looked at as being crimes? OLGA will pursue this issue.
At long last, after 10 years of offering to provide equality, diversity and human rights training to North Yorkshire Police, we did it! It has to be said that the police did not capitulate easily. Thanks are due to a police officer of colour who was given a project in this, his last year of service, to improve the diversity of the police force. On the day where Mary delivered the training to 35 police cadets, it was certainly heartening to see the LGBT cadets wearing their rainbow lanyards openly and proudly. It was also great to see cadets of colour alongside white colleagues.
This breakthrough came from campaigning in the police force by one of their own, who happened to be of colour. We do worry about the sustainability of ongoing training when this wonderful officer retires in a few weeks time. OLGA always maintains that activities and training should be delivered by users, who are from the protected characteristics of the equality law.
At present it is difficult to be excited and optimistic about any progress with care for LGBT people. Inside information from Care Quality Commission shared with OLGA, indicates that inspectors are slowly starting to gain confidence to ask questions. They are being retrained in order to ask service providers about health and social care for LGBT people. One ray of sunshine is that inspectors have been trialling a new form of questioning. Results indicate there are pockets of good practice, but this is outweighed by a massive need for improvement with most providers. OLGA project co-ordinator Mary Birch will be working in London with CQC later this month.
We look forward to giving you an update around Autumn 2018.
Back In The Closet – In Health and Care provision
National research shows that when Gay and Trans people go into care or receive care at home, they are going back in the closet. This is because they fear discrimination and abuse. OLGA wants to see health and social care providers welcoming LGB&T people, with staff encouraging us to be ourselves. OLGA has been working with Care Quality Commission to improve inclusivity of LGB&T clients. CQC tell us that they are now asking service providers about safety and personalised care issues.
CQC inspectors are receiving up to date training to enable them to have the confidence to quiz health and social care providers. How successful this latest initiative is will be shared with OLGA and you in summer 2018.
Homophobic and Transphobic Hate Crime
OLGA attends regular meetings with the North Yorkshire police. Shockingly, they have refused to provide us with hate crime data for several years! We believe they are bound by the equality law, and to prove this they should share the data about homophobic and transphobic hate incidents and crimes. If they continue to refuse to share this, we may request it under the freedom of information act.
Teaching Relationships and Sex Education in North Yorkshire Schools
At long last, the Government announced in March 2017 that Relationships and Sex Education will become statutory in September 2019. This education will be in primary and secondary schools. North Yorkshire will be using a highly experienced trainer from the Sex Education Forum and Stonewall.
What will parent’s reactions be? What will children’s reactions be? How many parents will use their right to withdraw their child from sex education within the subject called relationships and sex education. They cannot withdraw them from sex education in the National Curriculum as part of Science. Pleasingly there can be no withdrawal from Relationship Education in Primary School. This will deal with different relationships such as Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Trans and work on “Different Families”. Primary Schools must introduce the topic of “Different Families – Same Love”.
It is also important when teaching Relationship and Sex Education at all age groups not to just refer to the two genders of boys and girls but to take the time to explore the spectrum of gender identity for example include trans and gender neutral identities as well as challenging gender stereotypes.