Justice Starts Program to Aid Transgender Crime Victims

The U.S. Justice Department started a training program today that officials say will help law enforcement officials better handle crimes and other issues in the transgender community.

“Discrimination against transgender individuals is pervasive,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole told about 70 members of local, federal and international law enforcement organizations who gathered to attend the department’s first training session, which took place in Washington. “Too often, transgender people are the target of violent crime.”

The training by the department’s Community Relations Service will be rolled out nationwide in coming months. It is necessary, Justice Department officials say, because transgender crime victims are often afraid to approach police to report crimes and other problems.

The training “is as necessary as it is overdue,” said Associate Attorney General Tony West. “In too many places, we know that transgender victims are discouraged from reporting hate crimes and hate violence due to their past negative interactions with and perceptions of law enforcement. We know that such experiences have undermined the confidence transgender victims have in our justice system.”

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