Hate crime victim backs appeal to report attack
A transsexual who was punched and knocked unconscious within moments of walking into a pub has spoken out in support of a campaign to highlight hate crime.
Giovanna Del Nord was hit in the head without warning by a stranger as she waited to be served in a pub in central Leicester in October.
The 46-year-old, who moved to the city last year, believes the man attacked her because she is undergoing sex change therapy.
She is a year into a four-and-a-half year course of therapy which will result in a sex change.
She spoke out yesterday at Leicestershire County Council's offices in Glenfield to support a campaign which encourages victims of hate crimes to come forward.
Stop and Tell is highlighting the plight of people who face abuse – physical, verbal or written – because of their race, religion, age, disability or sexuality. It is placing particular emphasis on crimes against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.
Awareness-raising events including displays at libraries and council offices, school assemblies, roadshows and staff training are being held across Leicestershire.
Giovanna said: "I spoke because I wanted to let people know that they should tell the authorities about crimes committed against them.
"What happened to me has happened to many other people but they have never told anyone.
"It is important people who carry out hate crimes are brought to justice."
Between April, 2011, and March, 2012, 631 hate crimes were reported to Leicestershire Police – about 40 against gay people. Attacks on transsexuals were in single figures.
Councillor Joe Orson, cabinet member for safer communities, said: "Incidents of hate should not be tolerated and everyone who lives, works in or visits Leicestershire has the right to be treated with dignity and respect and to live without fear of hatred.
"We believe hate incidents are under-reported by people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgendered and we hope this campaign will go some way to demonstrate that help, support and advice is available."
Darren Goddard, Leicestershire Police's hate crime officer, urged people to contact the Hate Incident Monitoring Project (HIMP), which is monitoring the extent and nature of such crimes.
He said: "Sadly, incidents of hate often go underreported.
"HIMP is another way for people to report their experiences.
"Working with HIMP enables the police to better protect our communities and ensure those responsible are held to account."
Stop and Tell has been co-ordinated by the county, district and borough councils, Leicester LGBT Centre, police and Leicestershire Partnership NHS Trust.
Contact the Hate Incident Monitoring Project on 0116 305 8263 or visit the website below.
Alternatively, visit a council office or library, which are reporting centres for hate incidents.
In an emergency, call 999.