The assault, which is believed to have been homophobic in nature, happened at around 2 am on Saturday morning (5th May) in Railway Street, Strabane, and a 17-year-old teenager has been charged in connection with the incident.
The Rainbow Project was horrified when reports of the incident hit the media. They urgently contacted the PSNI in the area to establish the full facts of the incident, and immediately offered their support to the victim and her family.
Aisling Twomey, LGB&T Advocacy Officer for The Rainbow Project, who has been working with the PSNI to support the family, stated:
“There is absolutely no excuse for someone being targeted because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Hate crime robs people of their confidence and their independence. This attack could have left the victim with serious life-changing injury […] or led to a fatality.
‘The PSNI are taking the hate crime aspect of the incident very seriously, and the young man has been charged according[ly] with grievous bodily harm with intention, theft and possession of an offensive weapon. We echo the comments of the District Judge Peter King, who described it as an inexplicably violent incident during the initial hearing on Monday 07 May 2018.
“I would ask the local community in Strabane to give the PSNI the space they need to carry out their investigation and report any information about this assault to PSNI 101 or Crime stoppers immediately.
“I would encourage any person experiencing violence or intimidation as a result of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity to report it to the PSNI on 101 and if they don’t feel comfortable with the police, then they can speak directly to The Rainbow Project’s Advocacy Service by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
“Our thoughts are with the victim and her family and wish her the best during her recovery”.