Report Shows Continued and Increasing LGBT Hate ViolenceNCAVP

Anti-LGBT hate violence continues to be a pervasive social problem at the same time as vital resources and support for hate violence survivors are at risk amidst economic crisis according to a new report released by The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP).

The report states that murders are at the second-highest rate in a decade; that there was a spike in anti-LGBT violence at the time of federal hate crimes law passage; and that the Economic crisis is depleting resources for LGBT survivors of violence.

The report Hate Violence against the LGBTQ Communities in the United States in 2009, was released on Tuesday July 13.

This year, 22 victims of hate murder were reported by NCAVP, the second-highest rate in a decade, reflecting a pattern of severe and persistent violence against LGBTQ communities.

Notably, NCAVP saw the highest spike in reported incidents of violence in October 2009, coinciding with the passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. This statistic seems to reflect a correlation between increased visibility and increased vulnerability and targeting.

Despite these disturbing trends, financial support and much needed services for hate violence survivors have only declined due to ongoing economic conditions.

Of the 22 reported hate murder victims in 2009, 79 percent were people of color, and most were transgender women or were feminine-presenting.

As evidenced in the report, members of traditionally marginalized communities continue to be disproportionately targeted for severe violence.

“These facts are deeply disturbing as these are the same people who are more likely to face discrimination, criminalization or further violence when interacting with criminal legal and social service systems,” said Maria Carolina Morales, Intervention Director of Community United Against Violence (CUAV) in San Francisco. “What we see is that they are less likely to seek and access support from these institutions,”

“During the past year, NCAVP member organizations lost crucial staff and programming in the wake of the fiscal crisis,” said Lisa Gilmore, Director of Education and Victim Advocacy at Center on Halsted in Chicago.

In a survey of members participating in this report, 50 percent of respondents laid off staff (at an average decrease of 56 percent of all positions), 70 percent reported budget decreases, and others could not expand positions, staff hours or programming, despite a demonstrated need for such growth.

“We believe that this drastically limited the ability of LGBTQ people to report violence and access vital support and services in 2009,” said Gilmore. “While the total number of reported incidents of hate violence declined slightly in 2009, we suspect that this represents a decrease in reporting, not in actual violence.”

Many of the incidents reported to NCAVP, such as intimidation, harassment and other forms of discrimination (62 percent), may not fall in the category of criminal acts.
“For many people, acts of hate violence come to be an expected part of being LGBT,” said Kelly Clark, Community Safety Director at the Gay Alliance of the Genesee Valley in Rochester, NY. “Hate violence exists in many forms, ranging from hate speech to sexual assault and murder. All can be traumatic and have life-long impact.”

NCAVP’s report strongly recommends that the federal and state governments and criminal legal systems support anti-violence programs by ceasing cutbacks, releasing allocated funding and increasing funding for prevention, education, and data collection.

Most critically, NCAVP calls upon these institutions to end discriminatory practices that further promote anti-LGBTQ hate violence.

“Ending anti-LGBTQ hate violence will require nothing less than a profound cultural shift supported at all levels of society,” said Crystal Middlestadt, Director of Education & Advocacy at the Colorado Anti-Violence Program. “Educators, lawmakers, service providers and the general public must support the work of anti-violence programs and LGBTQ people to transform a culture of hate into one that is inclusive, healthy and safe for all.”

To download a complete version of the report, visit http://www.avp.org/ncavp.htm

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