Promising practice :
Gay Help Line and OSCAD.
Ongoing (as of May 2021).
Gay Help Line is the national contact centre for victims of homophobia and transphobia in Italy. Since 2005, Gay Help Line has been at the front line, supporting victims of discrimination and violence against LGBTI+ people by providing legal, psychological and medical assistance. Gay Help Line is mostly run by volunteers and provides a welcoming, inclusive and safe space to talk and seek assistance. The helpline can be reached from all over the country.
Training sessions for the volunteers are organised on a regular basis. Staff are trained to provide a first response to the victims of homophobic and transphobic discrimination and violence and to record incidents on recording forms.
Contact was first established between the directors of Gay Help Line and OSCAD. Since then, Gay Help Line has contacted OSCAD about reported cases that are categorised as hate crime/hate incidents. Since 2015, the organisations have cooperated on a regular basis, and the cooperation has strengthened over the years. Currently, the de facto cooperation is not formalised through a memorandum of understanding or other official agreement.
In practice, cooperation happens at various levels. When Gay Help Line receives a report of hate-motivated violence, the report is shared with OSCAD by phone or email. On receiving the report, OSCAD supports the work of Gay Help Line in different ways:
In 2021, this cooperation has grown. From February to March 2021, a staff member at Gay Help Line participated in the Facing Facts online course on monitoring hate crime for civil society organisations and public authorities in Italy. Participation in the online course, which is financially supported by the European Commission and co-facilitated by OSCAD, has strengthened the relationship between Gay Help Line and OSCAD. Since then, OSCAD has spoken at Gay Help Line events and participated as a trainer in the annual training of volunteers at Gay Help Line.
Between 30 and 40 volunteers work for Gay Help Line to answer victims’ calls.
The OSCAD Secretariat has seven staff members.
There is not a shared monitoring and evaluation system between Gay Help Line and OSCAD. Gay Help Line prepares a quarterly internal qualitative report, which contains information about recorded requests for support, the number and types of services offered, procedures, the victims (social information and general details) and outcomes of their interventions (e.g. number of cases reported to the authorities and outcomes of the psychological support). This report also specifies if a case was managed with the support of OSCAD and, if applicable, the result of the joint intervention.
Gay Help Line