The police force of New South Wales in Australia said on Wednesday that it is considering issuing an apology to the victims of hate crimes against homosexuals in Sydney between 1976 and 2000, ABC News reported. The police said this after releasing the findings of a task force set up in 2016 to review the deaths of 86 gay men.
Nearly a third of the reviewed cases were either found or suspected to have been related to homophobic bias, the police said. Another third could not be confirmed either way, while the rest did not have evidence to be homophobic crimes.
The Strike Force Parrabell was set up by the police to investigate the crimes. Its final report acknowledges “without qualification both its and society’s acceptance of gay bashings and violence directed towards gay men” during that period in history. However, the report said it was “almost impossible” to determine whether a “gay-hate bias” was indeed involved.
The report said the AIDS crisis was partly responsible for homophobic attitudes in those years and made gay men “targets of violence”, who were “unlikely to seek police involvement or assistance”.
The investigation made 12 recommendations to improve inquiries into possible gay-hate crimes, including having hard and electronic copies of all case records, training all police officers for cases involving the LGBTQI community, and academic guidance to identify such crimes.