Survey finds higher risk of sexual violence for LGBTQI communities

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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.

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Photo: 123RF

Department of Justice figures from the Crime and Victims Survey show that LGBTQI communities 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 harm to LGBTQI communities.

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“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.

He said crime comes at a huge financial cost, which is why improving outcomes for LGBTQI communities is so important.

“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.

Deputy Police Commissioner Sue Schwalger said she is dedicated to crime prevention and works with the LGB + 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.

“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.”

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

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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