Report: Intimate Partner Violence in LGBT and HIV Communities Shows Highest Murder Rate Ever

21 homicides last year; half of victims were gay men

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) has released its report Intimate Partner Violence in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ), and HIV-Affected Communities in the United States in 2012, revealing the highest homicide rate ever recorded.

NCAVP collected data concerning intimate partner violence within LGBTQ and HIV-affected relationships from 19 anti-violence programs in 20 states across the country, including Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Texas, and Vermont.

In 2012, NCAVP programs received 2,679 reports of intimate partner violence, a decrease of 31.83% from 2011 (3,930 reports). However, three NCAVP member organizations faced significant institutional or programmatic changes or limited staffing capacity that reduced the number of clients they saw, which contributed to the decrease of reports reflected in the report. Excluding data from these three organizations, NCAVP finds a 29.6% increase from 2011 in reports of intimate partner violence (1,437 in 2011 to 1,863 in 2012).

In 2012, NCAVP documented 21 intimate partner violence (IPV) homicides, the highest yearly total ever recorded by the coalition. This is an increase from 19 homicides recorded in last year’s 2011 report, and more than three times the 6 documented homicides in 2010. For the second year in a row, nearly half (47.6%) of IPV homicide victims were gay-identified men. Of the 21 IPV homicide victims in 2012, a majority (52.4%) were people of color with 28.6% of homicide victims identifying as black/African-American, 23.8% identifying as Latino/a, 23.8% identifying as white, and 23.8% of homicide victims with unspecified race or ethnicity.

“We are deeply concerned about the record high number of intimate partner violence homicides that occurred this year,” said Sharon Stapel, Executive Director of the New York City Anti-Violence Program. “The passage of an LGBTQ-inclusive Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) last year was a huge step forward, but as we move into the VAWA implementation phase, this report reveals that there is still a lot that needs to be understood about the ways LGBTQ people in this country are affected by IPV.”

The 2012 report also highlights a number of disturbing trends concerning the severity of violence experienced by LGBTQ and HIV-affected people, especially people of color, transgender people, and those under 30.

For the second year in a row, people of color made up the majority (62.1%) of intimate partner violence survivors, on par with the 2011 Report’s findings (66.85%). “We need more support for programs and services that are focused on LGBTQ and HIV-affected people of color survivors of intimate partner violence,” said Maria Carolina Morales, Programs Co-Director, at Community United Against Violence in San Francisco. “We need programs that address the ways that IPV intersects with race, as well as with other forms of oppression such as socioeconomic status and immigration status.”

The 2012 report found that transgender survivors were two times as likely to face threats/intimidation within violent relationships, and 1.8 times more likely to experience harassment within violent relationships. “Transgender people face increased risk of violence because of their gender identity and transphobia within intimate partnerships,” said Aaron Eckhardt, Training and Technical Assistance Director at Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO) in Columbus. “To really address the needs of transgender survivors, we need to address transphobic laws, policies and institutions while also providing supportive programs that address transgender people explicitly and that engage transgender survivors in preventing this violence.”

The 2012 report also found that youth and young adults were close to two times as likely to face anti-LGBTQ bias in IPV tactics as compared to non-youth. “We need more programs and services focused on LGBTQ youth,” Rebecca Waggoner, Anti-Violence Program Director, at OutFront Minnesota in Minneapolis. “These findings indicate the need for policymakers and funders to support LGBTQ and HIV-affected anti-violence organizations that conduct intimate partner violence prevention initiatives, and particularly those prevention initiatives that are aimed at youth and young adults.”

NCAVP’s 2012 report found that while few LGBTQ IPV survivors access vital services including police, shelter access and orders of protection, many of those who did received help. “This year’s report findings suggest that when LGBTQ IPV survivors seek vital services, they are receiving them, which is encouraging, said M. E. Quinn, Director of Organizing and Education at The Network/La Red in Boston Massachusetts. “However, there is clearly work to be done regarding police mis-arrest and police violence toward transgender people when responding to IPV incidents.” 

Read the full report here.

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