LGBT Domestic Violence – laws, facts, myths

LGBT Domestic Violence – laws, facts, myths

Below is information on LGBT domestic violence provided by the Arizona Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The laws mentioned here are for the state of Arizona.


LGBT Domestic Violence Laws, Prevalance, and Myth vs. Facts

  • Six states define domestic violence in a way that excludes same-sex victims from the same protections available to heterosexual domestic violence victims, including the availability of Orders of Protection. (National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Domestic Violence in 2001, 2002, pg 13)
  • Arizona Law now allows people in LGBT relationships to receive Orders of Protection by meeting the relationship requirement which is: “The relationship between the victim and the defendant is one of marriage or former marriage or of persons residing or having resided in the same household.” (Arizona State Law, 13-3601 (A)(1))
  • Fifteen states have sodomy laws that may require same-sex victims to confess a crime in order to prove that they are in a domestic violence relationship.  Arizona repealed its sodomy law in 2001. (Human Rights Campaign, 2002)
  • Arizona State Law also allows custody to be granted to a non-parent if they meet certain requirements including: ” ‘In loco parentis’ means a person who has been treated as a parent by the child and who has formed a meaningful parental relationship with the child for a substantial period of time.” (Arizona State Law, 25-415 (G)(1))


Prevalence

  • Of LGBT domestic violence reported to the NCAVP in 2001, 43 percent of victims identified themselves as female and 49 percent as male.  An additional four percent identified as transgender (the vast majority male to female), while the gender identify of four percent was reported “unknown.” (National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Domestic Violence in 2001, 2002, p.21)
  • While same-sex battering mirrors heterosexual battering both in type and prevalence, its victims receive fewer protections. (Barnes, ‘It’s Just a Quarrel’, American Bar Association Journal, February 1998, p.24)
  • In LGBT relationships perpetrators often attempt highly specific forms of abuse including “outing” or threatening to out a partner’s sexual orientation or gender identity. (National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Domestic Violence in 2001, 2002, p.7)

Myths vs. Facts

  • Myth 1: Same-sex battering is mutual.
    Fact: Since domestic violence is defined as an imbalance of power in which one partner aims to control the other partner and thus the relationship, there is no possibility of “mutual abuse.” (National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Domestic Violence in 2001, 2002, p.8)
  • Myth 2: Gay men are never victims of domestic violence.
  • Myth3: Gay men’s domestic violence is a “fight”, and when two men fight, it is a fair fight.
    Fact: Perpetrators often attempt to portray violence as mutual and even consensual especially if the partner attempts to defend against it, or as an expression of masculinity or some other “desirable” trait. (National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Domestic Violence in 2001, 2002, p.8)
  • Myth 4: Lesbian relationships are more peaceful and egalitarian than heterosexual relationships.
    Fact: Prevalence of domestic violence among gay and lesbian couples is approximately 25-33 percent. (Roughly the same percentage is estimated for heterosexual couples.) (Barnes, ‘It’s Just a Quarrel’, American Bar Association Journal, February 1998, p.24)
    Fact: However, women are nearly three times more likely to report being victimized by a male partner than by a female partner and men are nearly twice as likely to report being victimized by a male partner than by a female partner.  These findings suggest that men primarily perpetrate violence, whether against male or female partners. (US Department of Justice, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence:  Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, July 2000)
  • Myth 5: Violence in same-sex relationships is not as violent or lethal as heterosexual relationship violence.
    Fact: Gays and lesbians are subjected to the same kinds of violence and danger as found in heterosexual relations. (US Department of Justice, Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence:  Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey, July 2000)