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Need to continue the battle against homophobic and racist attacks

20 April, 2007

Sinn Féin Equality Spokesperson and MLA for Foyle Martina Anderson has welcomed the drop in the number of homophobic attacks in Derry but said more needs to be done to tackle attitudes towards homophobic and racist attacks.

Ms Anderson said:

"Whilst I welcome the fact the number of reported homophobic attacks in Derry have dropped from 31 to 16 in the past year, we must continue to highlight this issue and seek practical ways to combat discrimination and hate crimes.

"We must work all year round to change attitudes and mindsets regarding discrimination against gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered people. One of the major challenges we face is getting to grips with the high levels of homophobic bullying in the workplace.

"Undoubtedly, the issue of hate crime; covering racism, sectarianism and homophobic attacks, is one of the major challenges facing our society today. I am on record as stating that everyone has a role to play in ensuring that we make it clear that racist and homophobic attacks are not acceptable in our community.

"There is clearly a huge job of work to be done if we are to successfully challenge many of the negative attitudes which exist to difference and diversity in our society and the ensuing violence directed at those who are perceived as 'different'. In order to achieve this, we need a concerted

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