In a world rapidly becoming polarised on topics that were once considered a progress of human nature, like racial integration, improved disability access, and LGBTQ+ inclusion, we are all experiencing the severe and rapid increase of hate crimes targeted towards LGBTQ+ people.
Not a one of us can hide from the hate we see online, and in particular the prolific and targeted abuse at transgender and gender non-conforming people, to the extent that trans people are having their addresses posted online alongside call outs for physical violence being inflicted on them and their families.
Following the horrendous murder of 16 year old Brianna Ghey in Warrington this year, and the arson attack on the home of two trans women and a gay man in East London in April, our community is experiencing the greatest risks I’ve seen in my 17 years being out.
“If Novaya had not been awake to hear an explosion from her window at the other end of the flat, the outcome would have been fatal”
Add in that our UK government is on the systematic eradication of trans rights, and the country, once the most LGBTQ+ inclusive European nation, has dropped to 17th place on the annual Rainbow Map index by ILGA-Europe, our nation’s tolerance is moving backwards.
Zoteria, the app for reporting and tackling LGBTQ+ hate crime, though two years in development, couldn’t have been launched at a more appropriate time.
Zoteria has been developed in partnership with Stonewall, Galop, and the Vodafone Foundation.
Its objective is to give LGBTQ+ people one platform to report all hate crime, whether that’s verbal, physical, domestic or sexual abuse, or abuse in the workplace or online. The latter being particularly important given the horrendous hate crimes unfolding online and with governments and technology firms ill equipped to control it.
However, reporting of hate crime is of little use if nothing is done with it.
That’s why the team behind Zoteria will use the data collected to publish research and analytics, and use the information to support societal and policy change at a national level.
It’s a sad state of our UK police force however when it lands on LGBTQ+ charities to create an app for reporting the hate crimes they should be investigating.
Unfortunately, we know that the majority of police officers have little desire to investigate LGBTQ+ hate crime. I still recall my friend finding his flatmate’s body beaten and blue in his bed following a Grindr hook-up, and Greater Manchester Police closed the case as ‘sex gone wrong’.
To this day the family have never been told that their baby boy, just in his early 20’s, was brutally murdered – the story still sickens me to this day.
Having myself been groomed, drugged, and raped by a senior officer in the Greater Manchester Police force and never reported it knowing the force would protect him, is it any surprise our community feels less protected by the police?
These are the reasons Zoteria is needed.
Zoteria offers users a number of reporting and resourcing tools, as well as options to make the app discreet on your phone, which also then generates the Quick Exit button.
High level, functionality of the app includes:
The app itself is easy to use, with a simple sign up process, and clear functionality.
It comes with the ability to backdate your reports, so you can log historic events regardless of how small they may feel.
If you can’t remember the day or date it happened, there is an option to select I don’t know when it happened.
Similarly with location, if you aren’t sure, you can select I don’t know the exact location.
A tradey walked past me recently in Tesco, saw my green finger nails, and looked at me in disgust before calling me a ‘tranny’.
This is a snippet of the hate happening all day, every day, across the country.
So I’ve reported the incident in the app – location known, but date unknown.
It’s a simple process, although lengthier than I expected. I understand the need to capture ‘sufficient data points’ for data to be valuable, but ask too much and users will stop using the app.
I think it would be beneficial for the app to offer auto-population of the optional respondent data, so that it encourages wider use of this information. I fear users are likely to select that Skip button on the ‘optional’ demographic questions at the end.
If you’re not yet sold that Zoteria is worth offering up some of your prized phone storage capacity, we captured each stage of the reporting process for you to see the process upfront.
We’ve included the optional demographic questions so you can see the full set of questions should you choose to answer them all, but keep in mind that you can choose not to complete these when submitting a report.
And so you see, Zoteria is an easy function app that we can all get behind by making the active effort to.
Currently Zoteria is only available as an app, it is not available for reporting through a laptop or desktop.
Zoteria is free; it is a resource to support our community and tackle the increasing hate crimes LGBTQ+ people are experiencing.
It has been developed by charities to support progress of LGBTQ+ rights, not as a commercial venture for profit.
From a post launching the app on LinkedIn, Marta Lim proudly shows herself as the creator of Zoteria.
Zoteria is leading the way in terms of modern crime reporting methods, leveraging technology to improve crime reporting and analytics.
It does perplex me however that in 2023 it lands to charities and organisations to take crime reporting into their own hands.
How is it the UK police force does not embed technology like this into its own operating model?
We were once a leading nation on the global stage, consistently ranking first place for the most LGBTQ+ inclusive nation within Europe.
We were experts in developing science, technology, progressing human rights.
More and more it feels that governmental policies and practices fail us; charities having to create their own crime reporting technology is another example of a justice system letting us down. It makes me terribly sad.
However, Zoteria itself will only be successful if the LGBTQ+ community choose to adopt it. And we aren’t always best known for fighting our own cause, instead choosing to spend our time on superfluous spending, sex, and parties.
So to all LGBTQ+ people everywhere, Zoteria offers us an opportunity to take reporting hate crime into our own hands – possibly creating the most accurate data set we will have ever collected on the hate crime we know happens consistently, every day.
Let’s all get behind it 💜
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