Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Domestic Violence in 2001

General Material
Published Date

The 2001 Report provides an introduction/summary; a definition of domestic violence inclusive to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) survivors; a state-by-state analysis of legal protections for LGBT survivors; U.S. statistics highlighting LGBT experiences of domestic violence; poignant survivors stories, and, a collection of local reports from NCAVP member agencies.

The Introduction/ Summary examines issues specific to LGBT survivors, including societal, legal and other "external barriers" to accessing services necessary to assure victim safety and support. The "Inclusive Definition" section describes why NCAVP defines domestic violence as: "a pattern of behaviors utilized by one partner (the abuser or batterer) to exert and maintain control over another person (the survivor or victim) where there exists an intimate, loving and dependent relationship."(p.4) Forms of abuse listed that specifically targetted at LGBT individuals include an abuser: "outing" or threatening to disclose a person's sexual orientation or gender identity; reinforcing homophobic notions that LGBT individuals deserve abuse; justifying abuse by insinuating that the person is not "really" a LGBT person; telling a person that abuse is either a "normal part of LGBT relationships, or that it cannot be domestic violence because it is occurring between LGBT individuals" (p. 7); monopolizing support resources; or, portraying the violence as mutual or as an expression of some ostensibly "desirable" trait such as masculinity. Barriers survivors face are listed as: poor or inconsistent law enforcement response; limited access to civil court orders of protection; lack of accessible and sensitive services; victim's chance of being "outed"; and a victim's hopelessness or fear of reprisals.

The state-by-state analysis of legal protections for LGBT survivors is a new component and provides information in four categories: jurisdictions where protective orders are clearly unavailable, arguably unavailable, neutrally available and affirmatively available. This legal analysis is supplemented by the report's Appendix A: Protection Order Availability Chart (pp. 47 - 67). For each state, this chart provides the statutory reference for any domestic violence-specific protection order, relevant language or restrictions, other statutory options, and additional comments.

The statistics section includes information on victim gender, sexual orientation, age, race/ ethnicity and incidence of domestic violence homicide. The report reiterates that incidents of intimate partner violence as experienced by LGBTI individuals remain largely unreported and/or improperly or inadequately documented across the U.S. The 2001 Report findings show a 25 percent increase in intimate partner violence in the LGBT community, from 4,048 cases reported in 2000 to 5,046 cases in documented in 2001. NCAVP theorizes that although general findings may indicate the magnitude of doemstic violence experienced by LGBT individuals, the "changes in the number of domestic violence incidents reported to NCAVP are almost entirely the function of evolving program and organizational capacities, as well as outreach campaigns and program activity focus."(p.2)

The NCAVP member agencies local summaries section includes both those participating in the 2001 report and those in earlier stages of development, that will contribute to future reports. It is supplemented by Appendix B which provides the 2001 Data Sets.

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) is a coalition of over 20 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex victim advocacy programs throughout the United States. Data for the 2001 report was gathered from twelve organizations (eleven NCAPV member programs and the Asian Women’s Shelter with which NCADV has a cooperative relationship.)