all things social work

DV: VAWA Reauthorization

on November 30, 2011


Important changes…

How does VAWA affect LGBTQ people?

  • The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is up for re-authorization and, with your help, this year’s bill will explicitly include lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people.  VAWA should ensure that all victims of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking are eligible for VAWA protections and services regardless of the gender of their perpetrator.
  • LGBTQ people experience domestic violence in 25-35% of relationships, which is the same rate as the general population.
  • LGBTQ victims face discrimination when accessing services, including being turned away from shelter, mis-arrested as the primary aggressor by local law enforcement, and denied orders of protection.
  • Hopefully, the VAWA bill will delineate LGBTQ victims as an under-served population to encourage more effective protection and services for all LGBTQ people who need help.  In a 2010 study, 96% of victim services and law enforcement agencies said that they did not have specific services for LGBTQ victims.  In fact, studies have shown that only one in five survivors of same-gender sexual assault and intimate partner violence received victim services.   For all of these reasons, LGBTQ people need to be included in the re-authorized VAWA.

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