Survey finds higher risk of sexual violence for gay, lesbian or bisexual people

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Gay, lesbian or bisexual people are twice as likely to experience sexual violence or domestic violence as the average New Zealander.

File photo.
Photo: 123RF

Justice Department figures from the Crime and Victims Survey show that gay, lesbian or bisexual people are more likely to be victims of crime, but also less likely to report it.

The justice sector is trying to deal with the numbers and has said having hard data is a good place to start.

On average, 16% of New Zealanders are likely to experience intimate partner violence at some point in their life, while 24% will experience sexual violence.

Lesbians or gay men are more than twice as likely to have experienced this type of violence, and bisexual adults are almost three times as likely to experience sexual violence as the average New Zealander.

Tim Hampton, deputy secretary at the Department of Justice, said the investigation had put a concrete figure on the damage to these communities..

“These groups are 50% more likely to be victims of crime and, more worryingly, the survey showed that two-thirds of bisexual adults had been victims of sexual violence at some point in their lives.

“This compares to a quarter for all New Zealanders and 52% for gay and lesbian adults.”

Hampton said the survey helps officials understand the kind of support communities need.

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He said that crime comes at a huge financial cost, which is why it is so important to improve outcomes for these communities.

“It is in the billions of dollars each year that domestic violence and sexual violence alone costs the economy and costs the people here.

“From a financial point of view, the need for investment is there, and therefore the investment of $ 200 million that the government has invested in the budget20.

The reasons for the scale of the violence are unclear

The question of why lesbians, gays and bisexuals are so susceptible to sexual or domestic violence has not been answered, but it is something officials want to understand.

Superintendent Sue Schwalger, Commander of the Central District Police

Sue Schwalger.
Photo: RNZ / Simon Williams

Deputy Police Commissioner Sue Schwalger said she is dedicated to crime prevention and works with the lesbian, gay and bisexual community to understand their needs.

“Police are aware of the low number of reports of these types of crimes and these communities,” Schwalger said.

“We recently held workshops with vulnerable communities, asking them to help them understand what they are facing, how best to report and how best to support them.”

Schwalger urged victims of crime to come forward and insisted that there will be no judgment or stigma from officers dealing with lesbian, gay or bisexual victims.

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“If you are a victim of any type of crime, including sexual assault, I encourage you to report it.

“We will do our best to make sure that your reporting and process experience is sensitive to your needs, and we will support you in any way we can.”

The survey showed that only 25% of people typically report crimes to the police, but that figure drops to just 14% for bisexual people and 23% for lesbians or gays.

It also showed that these victims are almost five times more likely to believe that a crime is motivated by attitudes towards their sexual orientation than the national average.

The ministry did not have enough data to include transgender and other identities.

Charity is not surprised

A charity that works with Rainbow Youth says it’s no surprise that gays, lesbians and bisexuals are more likely to be victims of crime.

Tabby Besley from InsideOUT said Morning report there are many possible reasons why lesbian, gay or bisexual people and more are victimized.

“Our relationships are pretty much always invisible and so are the people in our communities – it’s really hard to identify that what might be happening in our relationships is balanced because when we look outside of this world, it’s that very hetero-normative vision of what it is. “

She said their communities were not well modeled in areas like media and advertising.

Besley said they often face discrimination and violence from society, including from strangers on the streets, in workplaces and from peers, so this becomes normal for them and it can impact their close relationships as they don’t get the support they need.

Many have had negative experiences with the police as well, and while trying to make improvements, she doesn’t think the issue is being handled with the urgency it deserves.

She said police needed to reintroduce training on working with LGBTQI communities, especially those affected by violence.

Where to get help

Need to talk? Call free or text 1737 anytime to speak to a qualified advisor, for any reason.

New Zealand Police

Help for victims 0800 842 846

Rape crisis 0800 88 33 00

Rape prevention education

HELP Call 24/7 (Auckland): 09623 1700, (Wellington): be 04801 6655 – 0

Safe to talk: a confidential 24/7 helpline for survivors, support people and people with harmful sexual behavior: 0800044334.

Mosaic – Tiaki Tangata Peer support for men with trauma and sexual abuse: 0800 94 22 94

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