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October 2, 2020 – LGBT people are nearly four times more likely than non-LGBT people to experience violent victimization, including rape, sexual assault, and aggravated or simple assault, according to a new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. In addition, LGBT people are more likely to experience violence both by someone well-known to the victim and at the hands of a stranger.

Researchers analyzed data from the 2017 National Crime Victimization Survey, the first nationally representative and comprehensive criminal victimization data to include information on the sexual orientation and gender identity of respondents.

Results showed that, in 2017, LGBT people experienced 71.1 victimizations per 1,000 people, compared to 19.2 victimizations per 1,000 people for non-LGBT people. LGBT people had higher rates of serious violence victimization in almost every type of violent crime except robbery, which showed no significant difference between LGBT and non-LGBT people.

“It is clear that LGBT people are at greater risk of violent victimization, but the question is why,” said lead author Andrew R. Flores, Affiliated Scholar at the Williams Institute. “One plausible cause is anti-LGBT prejudice at home, work, or school, which would make LGBT people particularly vulnerable to victimization in numerous areas of their everyday life.”

KEY FINDINGS

  • LGBT people (16+) are nearly 4 times more likely to experience violent victimization, compared to non-LGBT people.
  • LGBT people are about 6 times more likely to experience violence by someone who is well known to them and about 2.5 times more likely to undergo it at the hands of a stranger, compared to non-LGBT people.
  • LBT women are 5 times more likely than non-LBT women to experience violent victimization. The risk of violence for GBT men is more than twice that of non-GBT men.
  • About half of all victimizations are not reported to police. LGBT people are as likely as non-LGBT people to report violence to police.

“These data show what was hidden from view before NCVS included measures of sexual orientation and gender identity to allow the analyses reported here. It is important that such data collection continue uninterrupted,” said study author Ilan H. Meyer, Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “The findings point to the importance of policies and interventions to reduce victimization and the need to consider the unique susceptibility to violence and the high rates of crime experienced by LGBT people.” 

Read the report.

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research with real-world relevance.