Defending the Rights of the LGBTQ Community

In continuing with the Administration’s goal of defending the rights and supporting the needs of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer/questioning (LGBTQ) community, The Department of Justice’s Office of Victims of Crime has released a grant program designed to ensure that all crime victims, including LGBTQ individuals, receive comprehensive, quality services and are afforded fundamental rights.

Despite recent advancements in the criminal justice field, LGBTQ individuals and communities continue to experience significant degrees of discrimination and a wide range of crime victimization, including assault, harassment, stalking, sexual violence, sex trafficking, and homicide. In 2009, The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) reported that the number of bias-related murders of LGBTQ people in 2008 rose 28% from 2007, with reports of sexual assaults rising 48%. In addition, according to a study done by Yale University, LGBTQ youth suffer a disproportionate number of juvenile arrests and convictions when compared to their heterosexual peers.

According to the National Center for Victims of Crime (NCVC) and the NCAVP, LGBTQ-appropriate victim assistance is generally lacking in all areas of this work, including outreach to victims, lack of staff expertise, and lack of access to cultural-competence training. In accessing these funds, victim services providers can develop LGBTQ specific policies and services and develop relationships with LGBTQ organizations to better address the unique issues faced by this community.

The Office of Victims of Crime’s ultimate goal is to forge a national commitment to better serve these individuals and populations. By encouraging organizations to develop innovative programming targeting the needs of the LGBTQ community, the administration hopes to stem the tide of violence toward LGBTQ individuals and aid in the healing process for LGBTQ victims of crime and their families.

Applications are due by July 5th, 2011. View the full grant proposal here.

Lynn Rosenthal is the White House Advisor on Violence Against Women
Related Topics: Civil Rights