Monday, October 7, 2013

LGBTQ Survivors of Violence - We Can, and Will, Do More

The New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP) is about to add one more strategy to ending violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ) and HIV-affected people:  legal advocacy.  In October 2013, AVP is launching the LGBTQ Legal Services Project for survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence.

The Centers for Disease Control found that lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience intimate partner and sexual violence at the same or higher rates as heterosexual people. And AVP's National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs found that transgender survivors were nearly two times more likely to report violence.  Yet despite this high prevalence of violence, there is a start inequality in support for LGBTQ survivors.

More than 60% of LGBTQ survivors are turned away from Domestic Violence shelters and nearly 1/3 are mis-arrested as the primary aggressor.  Fewer than 3% of LGBTQ survivors sought civil orders of protection, and fewer than 50% reported violence to the police. 94% of mainstream service providers and first responders said they did not have programming for LGBTQ survivors.  Studies have shown that only 1/5 of LGBTQ survivors received supportive services and, unsurprisingly, that many LGBTQ people do not feel those services are readily accessible. 

However, studies also show that legal assistance significantly impacts a survivor's ability to access services and find safety.  And when legal services are co-located with social services, as they will be at AVP, survivors report more satisfaction, knowledge and safety. AVP knows that we have to use multiple strategies to address the violence that LGBTQ people experience - because each one of us deserves to feel safe in our homes.

For more information about AVP's LGBTQ Legal Service Project, or any of our programs and services, please call our 24-hour bilingual (English/Spanish) Hotline at (212)714-1141

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