The hate crimes section of the Valencia Prosecutor’s Office has opened four investigations in less than two weeks for alleged homophobic attacks registered in the city. In addition, it is analyzing two more complaints in a year in which events of this type have skyrocketed.
Violence against LGTBI people that uncovered Samuel’s crime: “The spitting hurt me more than the stone”
These are the latest incidents recorded in Valencia, in the course of the Túria River and in the Plaza de Honduras, which have coincided with the murder of Samuel, a 24-year-old who received a beating in A Coruña by a group of people in an act that has been considered homophobic.
In Valencia, the victims of the incidents that the Public Ministry is investigating are all men, mostly young people. “Issues for this type of aggression have exploded in the city and it may be that there is a relationship with the celebration of Gay Pride and the murder of Samuel,” the coordinating prosecutor for hate crimes pointed out in statements to Europa Press. Susana Gisbert.
The situation is, in his opinion, “very worrying”: “It is an issue that has always existed but now it seems that it is being seen more, I do not know if because people are encouraging to report or because there is a rebound in cases. I think there is a mixture of both factors, “he added.
In this regard, the prosecutor has highlighted the “importance” that citizens who find out or witness any type of aggression of this style, first try to prevent it and then report it to the competent authorities.
“It is important to be aware that not all homophobia is a crime but it is just as dangerous,” said Gisbert, who added that “when in a chat there are ridicules of homosexuals, homophobic jokes or certain thanks or stereotypes, you have to react because this then creates an environment of hostility, “he said.
He stressed that the perpetrators of these attacks “should never have a feeling of impunity”, which is why he considers it “essential” that it is known that these acts are being prosecuted and that they have consequences. “These attacks are not free,” he insisted.
If all goes well, the prosecutor pointed out, these incidents do not take more than a year to be judged – after the public prosecutor’s instruction and judicial proceedings – although the procedure can be complicated if the author or authors of the incident are unknown. the aggressions.
The hate crime regulation offers a legal tool to punish this type of act but, in the prosecutor’s opinion, there is a “problem”: the intermediate points. “What happens with the insults that are not so serious as to be a hate crime but neither as to go unpunished?”, Has been asked by way of example.
This “middle” part is “in limbo” from hate incidents. These are discriminatory actions that do not constitute a hate crime. “Administratively, many things can be done but a unitary regulation of all those hate incidents would be lacking,” he advocated.
It is “essential” that victims feel protected, he believes. The Statute of the Victim protects them but, perhaps, just as there is a regulation to protect victims of gender violence, “there should also be one for victims of hate”, he has bet.
In this sense, the prosecutor has specified that there are precautionary measures in these incidents within the criminal process, such as ordering a withdrawal, but not specific, taking into account the particularities of hate crimes.
Currently, according to the latest statistics, only 10% of homophobic aggressions are reported: “We have to give more mechanisms to those who suffer. Many times they do not want to come to light and we have to make them feel safe,” he said. Gisbert.
To prevent this type of incident, the prosecutor has stressed that the Childhood and Adolescence law is “very interesting”, which modifies the advertising law and now includes racism or homophobia. “This type of action is very important to go to the root of the problem,” he added.