PONTIAC, MI – Equality Michigan and the Oakland County Prosecutors Office have signed a partnership to ensure that those who identify as being LGBTQ and are victims of crime in Oakland County will be protected and supported.
Oakland County Prosecutor Jessica Cooper has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Equality Michigan (MOU), an anti-violence and advocacy organization that has been serving the LGBTQ community for more than twenty years.
The MOU is designed to help ensure that those in the LGBTQ community receive the necessary support when they are victims of crime.
“I am very pleased that Equality Michigan and the Oakland County Prosecutors Office will be combining resources to ensure that members of the LGBTQ community receive equal treatment and justice,” she said. “We are committed to protecting everyone in our community, particularly those who might be singled out for crime because of their sexual orientation.”
Cooper’s staff will be trained in the unique challenges LGBTQ residents face in navigating the criminal justice system. Her office will also be providing those victims literature from Equality Michigan and will be meeting with Equality Michigan’s Victims’ Services unit during the year to monitor the progress of the partnership.
“I am thrilled to announce this bold partnership between Equality Michigan and the Oakland County Prosecutors office,” said Erin Knott, Executive Director. “Tragically, members of the LGBTQ community continue to be targets of acts of violence that have killed or seriously injured individuals. Enough is enough – this partnership will help us provide critical resources to those who are hurting and are in need.”
Members of the LGBTQ have faced growing violence in recent years, even as the nation’s overall crime rate has dropped. A 2018 FBI report found that one in five hate crimes were motivated by LGBTQ bias, and those crimes tended to be assaultive, rather than property crimes. A Gallup poll found that approximately 4.5 percent of the national population identifies as LGBTQ.
Cooper said her office is dedicated to making sure all crime victims in Oakland County get the support they need, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual orientation. “Our department of victim services stands ready to serve victims of anti-LGBTQ bias, violence, harassment, discrimination, and hate crimes in Oakland County and across Michigan,” said Knott.