No one should be a victim of domestic violence, whether straight or gay. This year, Congress finally took action to protect LGBT victims, but the work to stop this violence is ongoing.
This week the Human Rights Campaign joined local and national LGBT and mainstream anti-violence organizations in authoring a public letter marking Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the implementation of the first inclusive Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on October 1.   The Office on Violence Against Women has committed to the implementation of the inclusive provisions in VAWA over the coming months and this will increase resources and support to LGBT survivors of intimate partner violence. This week’s letter describes what this federal involvement means to LGBT people and to the anti-violence movement.
Last year’s reauthorization of this important law included, for the first time, explicit language ensuring equal protection for LGBT victims of domestic violence.  Studies indicate that LGBT people experience domestic violence at roughly the same rate as the general population.  However, LGBT victims have often been denied access to domestic violence services, turned away from shelters, improperly arrested as the primary aggressor and denied orders of protection because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Now VAWA recognizes that the LGBT community is an underserved population and allows service providers access to grant money for programs that  target the community.  Beyond providing grants to ensure LGBT victims of domestic violence have access to services, VAWA also prohibits service providers receiving federal funds from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in the provision of services.
HRC continues to engage the Department of Justice in partnership with other LGBT and anti-violence organizations to ensure that VAWA is fully implemented and LGBT victims of domestic violence receive the services they need.
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