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Same-Sex Relationships: DV Prevalent but Under Reported and Underserved

An article appearing yesterday in Salon.com revisited the little-publicized topic of domestic violence in same-sex relationships. Citing a study released last September by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) showing a 25 percent increase in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) domestic violence from 4,048 reported cases in 2000 to 5,046 cases in 2001, the article noted the continued paucity of legal protections and services for victims of gay domestic violence. Despite abuse rates comparable to those among heterosexual couples, “…when it comes to gay domestic violence, not only has society largely ignored the issue, but the law itself also frequently discriminates against same-sex couples. Making the issue more complicated is the reluctance of some members of the gay community to publicize any dysfunction in their midst,” David Tuller wrote in Salon. In Delaware, Louisiana, Montana, New York, South Carolina, and Virginia, same-sex couples are excluded from legal protections offered to domestic violence victims. To date, only one domestic violence shelter in the US serves all abuse victims, regardless of gender and orientation.

Sources:

Salon.com 6/4/03;Express-News 5/16/03; Gay.com 9/24/03, 12/9/02, 4/21/03; AJPH 12/2002