South Africa’s Deputy Police Minister Maggie Sotyu has revealed that police are being trained to be more aware of the rights of LGBT people.
The SABC reported that Sotyu attended a meeting in Gugulethu, in the Western Cape, with LGBT and sex worker community groups on Thursday.
The meeting was intended to address “rendering non-discriminative service delivery at police stations and upholding human rights when Police are enforcing the law”.
At the discussion, Sotyu said that the police had embarked on a training programme to sensitise officers about the rights of sex workers and members of the gay and lesbian community.
There are also plans to place transgender offenders in separate holding cells to ensure that they do not suffer any abuse while being detained.
The secondary victimisation of LGBT victims by police has long been cited by activists as one of the reasons why victims avoid reporting hate crimes and “so-called corrective rape” attacks to the authorities.
Police have also been repeatedly accused of dragging their feet in investigating and identifying perpetrators of anti-LGBT crimes.
The event was hosted by the Free Gender Gay and Lesbian Organisation and Sex Workers Education and Advocacy Taskforce (SWEAT) in honour of Women’s Month.
Earlier this week, Jeff Radebe, the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, confirmed that the government intends to introduce the concept of hate crimes against LGBT people into South African criminal law.