We are deeply saddened by the murder of Jairo Medina in Hyde Park, who has been identified as an LGBT person by the media. There currently seems to be no evidence that his murder was a hate crime, but we are reassured that the police continue to be open mind about about any potential motivation behind his attack.
With that said, we encourage members of our community visiting open spaces or cruising grounds to think about their personal safety and to pull together as a community. The responsibility for crime and assault always lies with those doing it and the targeted person is never to blame, but the following safety tips are worth considering if you are a man visiting outdoor spaces to meet other guys:
- Trust your instincts: if you feel unsafe, if something doesn’t feel quite right or you see someone behaving oddly, don’t ignore it. If you feel in danger, or even if you just feel uncomfortable, take action – move, shout and ask for help.
- Try not to be conspicuous with your mobile, wallet, or valuable items. Consider making it more difficult to be pickpocketed by keeping them in zipped, buttoned or inner pockets. Some items might be better left at home.
- Be aware of your surroundings, such as exits and dead-ends. You are safer in areas where other men are cruising, so try to avoid becoming isolated.
- Remember the law says it is your right to say no to sex and to change your mind at any time, for any reason.
- Look out for yourself and other people. If you are see verbal abuse, threatening behaviour or violence shout for help and warn other people. Steer clear of large or rowdy groups that you’re not sure about. Call 999 and get to safety if you can.
- People are often apprehensive about calling the police about problems in cruising grounds, but letting other people know is the best way of protecting yourself and others. You can call the police and don’t need to give your name if you prefer not to.
- You can also call us for independent and confidential advice, to talk through something that has happened to you, or to ask us to pass on information anonymously to the police. Our Galop helpline is 020 7704 2040.