Pioneering scheme to make clubs safer for queer people launched in Liverpool after hate crime spike

In the wake of rising anti-LGBT+ violence, a new scheme to make nightlife venues safer is being rolled out across Liverpool.

Fifty-three venues have opted into Liverpool’s ‘You’re Safe Here’ scheme, launched to keep the city’s queer community safe.

The venues have been accredited with the scheme’s mark following the delivery of training sessions to workers. Campaigners hope that the mark will reassure customers that staff will know what to do if help is needed. This could be due to a crime, being faced with intimidation, or other unacceptable behaviour.

The training sessions were delivered in partnership with Merseyside police and crime commissioner Emily Spurrell, Stop Hate UK, Merseyside Police, Liverpool Nightlife CIC, and other city partners.

Taking place around the city, the sessions provided support on how to deal with a range of situations. This includes recognising hate crimes and incidents relating to gender and sexuality, race, disability and more. The scheme also extends to awareness of sexual violence, unsafe drinking, and grooming.

The campaign’s sign will be shown in venues from next week, including a QR code linking customers to further support. The scheme’s first phase has been funded by the police commissioner, creating 1,000 training places for the city’s evening and night-time economy staff by Christmas.

The campaign comes following a statement from Merseyside Police on a rise in anti-LGBT+ hate crimes. Homophobic violence has rocked the city since lockdown measures were lifted, prompting Liverpool’s queer community to rise up in defiance and demand better.

Liverpool is not alone, as rates of hate crime has risen across the UK

According to newly-released figures, police recorded 14,670 homophobic hate crimes between January and August this year – some 3,000 more than the same period in 2020.

In fact, data obtained by Vice shows that homophobic hate crime reports in the UK has tripled and the number of transphobic hate crime reports has quadrupled over the last six years.

LCR Pride Foundation CEO and co-founder, Andi Herring, said: “The initial response to the training scheme has been fantastic and clearly reflects the commitment of venues across the city region to providing safe spaces for all.”

“While this scheme was launched following a series of hate crimes against the LGBT+ community in the city, it is intended to improve safety for anyone living in or visiting the city. Feedback from participants has so far been excellent and has created a foundation for ongoing partnership working.”