Violence Against Women


 Issue Update:  LGBTQ Provisions  of S. 1925 Myths v.   Facts

 VAWA is at the   center of a national discussion and will soon move through Congress.  In   fact, S. 1925, the real VAWA has been filed as a “motion to proceed” in the   Senate and is likely to be heard on the Senate floor within days or weeks.     While every politician has expressed their support for VAWA, some   have not committed to support S. 1925, the real VAWA, which has been   introduced into the Senate with key provisions that will protect all   victims.  Some Senate Republicans will be offering their own version of   VAWA when the Senate takes up the bill and it guts the bipartisan S. 1925.    We have to save S. 1925’s  important provisions that provide better   access to law enforcement for women in Indian country, better access for   immigrant women who fear deportation if they report violence, and better   access for  LGBT victims who are finding doors to shelters and programs   closed to them.

So our job,   though it seems complicated, is really simple at the grassroots and community   level.  Tell your Senators and Representatives: “We won’t go back to   the tragic days before VAWA passed in 1994.  We won’t abandon girls and   women, boys and men, just because they have special needs and special   circumstances that have not been addressed previously.  There are no   ‘bad’ victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, only humans who need   and deserve our embrace and help.  Pass S.   1925.”

You may have heard concerns raised   about the VAWA provisions protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and   queer (LGBTQ) victims and survivors in your meetings and discussions with   senators who haven’t yet signed on in full support of S. 1925 and perhaps in   the media. It is crucial that all advocates understand and fully support these   critically important provisions in VAWA. For that reason, the National   Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, a member of the National Task Force, has   compiled the following responses to misinformation being circulated about the   LGBTQ provisions. Please incorporate factual information about the LGBTQ    provisions in your VAWA advocacy and use and distribute these facts to respond   to any concerns raised.

The Violence   Against Women Act Reauthorization—S.1925

The Truth   About LGBTQ Provision

Myth: Domestic violence,   sexual violence, stalking and dating violence does not affect the LGBTQ   community.

Fact: The LGBTQ community   experiences these types of violence as the approximately the same rate as   non-LGBTQ victims– 25-33% of relationships — however, they often face unique   barriers to receiving services.

  • LGBT victims are   denied services. For example, 45 percent of LGBT victims were turned away   when they sought help from a domestic violence shelter, according to a 2010   survey, and nearly 55 percent of those who sought protection orders were   denied them.2
  • Service providers   lack cultural competency. A 2010 study found that many victim services   providers lack services specific to the needs of LGBT victims and have not   received training in how to assist with the unique needs of these victims.   Specialized services are particularly important for this population because   reporting rates and prosecution rates are very low.3

Myth: Provisions addressing   the LGBTQ community in VAWA are expanding services to a whole new population   not previously covered and/or mandating LGBTQ specific programs in every   state.

Fact: LGBTQ survivors of   domestic violence, sexual violence, stalking and dating violence are already   receiving services under VAWA. However, LGBTQ survivors face additional   barriers when accessing services. The proposed changes help make clear to STOP   state administrators and others the LGBTQ individual and programs can be   served and funded under VAWA.

  •  These provisions   reflect a comprehensive needs assessment. Thousands of service providers,   law enforcement, court personnel, victims and family of victims were consulted   over a two year nationwide assessment of what is working and where   improvements are needed in the response to domestic violence, dating violence,   sexual assault and stalking. Those efforts consistently revealed the desperate   need for more training and targeted services to effectively address the needs   of LGBTQ victims.
  •  There are no   mandated LGBTQ programs. There is nothing in VAWA that mandates that a   state fund an LGBTQ specific program. The modest changes to VAWA simply   clarify that LGBTQ programs are eligible for funding.

Myth: Including   non-discrimination provisions protecting the LGBTQ community will expose   service providers to litigation hurting all survivors.

Fact: Enforcement   authority for this provision lies with the Department of Justice. If DOJ finds   that a service provider receiving federal funding is violating the   non-discrimination provision, they must give the provider notice and a chance   to stop discriminating. Otherwise the Department is able to stop the funds   going to the service provider discriminating against victims.

  •  No danger of   litigation. There is no private right of action in the VAWA.
  •  All victims   deserve services. No program being funded by federal VAWA dollars should   be allowed to turn away a domestic violence victim because of his or her   sexual orientation or gender identity.

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