Early Days: 1982 – 1984
In June 1982 the Gay London Police Monitoring Group was created, in part to expose the systematic harassment of the gay and lesbian communities by the police, but also to educate those communities about their rights. At first, it was a voluntary grouping of lawyers and interested parties providing a service to gay men who suffered from arbitrary and discriminatory policing. Funding from the Greater London Council allowed employment of two core workers.
Establishing A Voice: 1985 – 1987
Operating under the umbrella of Galop, the Lesbians and Policing Project (LESPOP) developed to research and educate the lesbian community about policing issues in London. Galop’s work dealt with new police powers of arrest, in particular around public lesbian and gay demonstrations, raids on gay pubs and bookshops and bans on lesbian and gay employment by local authorities.
A Higher Profile: 1988 – 1991
As violent and organised homophobic attacks became more alarming, Galop called for the logging of anti-gay crimes as a separate category by the police. Alongside Section 28 becoming law, Galop’s statistics showed a tripling of calls from men arrested while cruising. Massive police resources were being dedicated to the control of these essentially ‘victimless’ crimes, despite the escalation of homophobic hate crimes with genuine victims.
Making Changes: 1992 – 1994
Following several years of increased dialogue between the police and the gay community, arrests for gross indecency began to fall. Galop’s role became much more pivotal in engagement with policy-making; the changes that were produced were largely a result of our lobbying and liaison. As Galop’s work had started to move away from our original aims, a process of consultation began through which the lesbian and gay communities were given the opportunity to shape our future direction. This resulted in Galop becoming a company limited by guarantee. Public forums defined important recommendations for future work around the issues of educating and informing the community as well as monitoring police practice and malpractice.
Reaching Out: 1995 – 2002
Galop began to engage with a more diverse community, officially including bisexual people in its remit for the first time. Our youth work produced a pioneering needs assessment which ultimately resulted in a full youth project to raise the profile of LGB youth issues and an event that was attended by over 100 organisations. Following the bombing of the Admiral Duncan in 1999, Galop was a key agency in helping to establish the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Advisory Group (LGBT AG) which worked alongside the police. Another pioneering Galop publication was the first in the UK to focus on black and ethnic minority (BME) LGB people’s experiences of hate crime, policing and community safety. This then informed specific work carried out with the LGB BME communities
A New Phase: 2002 – 2006
Galop worked with the police to develop ‘Assisted Reporting’, a way for hate crimes to be reported to the police through us. Crimes as severe as kidnapping and sexual assault were reported this way, indicating a continuing mistrust of the police by the LGBT communities. With a number of high-profile homophobic murders Galop played a crucial role in providing a link between the LGBT communities and the police with vital information gathered from reports to our helpline assisting successful arrests and convictions. An online reporting facility was developed and Galop began to work in partnership with other agencies and the government to undertake research and deliver high-profile education projects. We continued to be instrumental in shaping policy at the highest levels, including the future of police training, and emphasised our remit of inclusion by officially offering all services to transgender people.
Adding New Support: 2007 – 2014
Galop’s services saw successful growth in the areas of joint or partnership working, continuing to improve LGBT community involvement, advising and improving communications between local authorities, statutory bodies and other organisations in order to make policing more responsive, in particular advising the Metropolitan Police Service jointly with the LGBT Advisory Group. Our domestic abuse work was founded during this time, with the founding of the London Domestic Abuse Partnership, led by Galop. The DAP provides LGBT+ victims and survivors of domestic abuse with a clear pathway into specialist support services. Galop also launched a ground-breaking project providing the only specialist LGBT sexual abuse support in the country during this time, and published a landmark report increasing understanding of the level of unreported LGBT hate crime as well as an assessment of services available to victims of these crimes.
Serving Our Community: 2015 – present
Throughout its history, Galop’s goal has always been to make life safe, just, and fair for our community. Over recent years, we have grown our frontline services substantially – providing advocacy and casework to victims and survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence, hate crime, and other forms of abuse and violence. Many of these services had started with just one caseworker, and have since grown to have far more capacity to help LGBT+ people experiencing abuse and violence inside and outside London. Alongside the growth of our services, we also grew our ability to influence policy and provide an evidence base for change on behalf of our community via our research projects.
In 2016, we added the National LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Helpline to our services, following the collapse of an LGBT+ domestic abuse charity called Broken Rainbow. In 2017, we started a dedicated advocacy service for LGBT+ people aged 13-25, working across all forms of abuse. In 2019, we opened our first advocacy service for LGBT+ victims of domestic abuse across the UK, helping to plug some of the gaps in services identified by our ground-breaking report Recognise and Respond. In 2020, we opened the first LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Forum, for people across the UK to seek peer support. In 2021, we launched our second national helpline: the LGBT+ Hate Crime Helpline. We will release the first UK-wide research into LGBT+ experiences of sexual violence later this year.
Help us help others
Galop now works with thousands of LGBT+ people directly every year, through our helplines and advocacy services. We advocate for the needs of LGBT+ victims and survivors of abuse and violence at national and local levels. We will continue to push for a UK which is safe, just, and fair for all LGBT+ people, and provide a trusted space for those who need us.