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Domestic Violence in LGBTQ+ Relationships

By San Diego Attorney on October 1, 2022

In the past, domestic violence awareness has been primarily focused on heterosexual relationships. However, researchers found that participants who identified as gay or lesbian reported higher domestic violence and sexual violence rates than heterosexuals in a recent CDC study. In fact, gay men and bisexual women are more likely to experience severe physical domestic violence than straight people, as reported by HRC.

How Prevalent is Domestic Violence in the LGBTQ+ Community?

Compared to heterosexuals, LGBTQ+ people face an increased risk of intimate partner violence. Researchers found that:

  • 44% of lesbians and 61% of bisexual women experience physical violence, rape, or stalking by an intimate partner, as compared to 35% of heterosexual women.
  • More than half of transgender and non-binary respondents had experienced intimate partner violence.
  • 18% of LGBTQ+ respondents experienced physical dating violence (as compared to 7% of heterosexuals) and 16% experienced sexual dating violence (as compared to 8% of heterosexuals).

Why Is Domestic Violence More Prevalent in the LGBTQ+ Community?

Currently, there is limited data on the problem of domestic abuse in the LGBTQ+ community. Rates of mental health issues may be higher among LGBTQ+ people. Of LGBTQ+ domestic violence survivors accessing support services, 51% were experiencing mental health issues, as compared to 38% of heterosexual survivors, as reported by Interventions Alliance.

What Are the Barriers to Domestic Violence Assistance for LGBTQ+ People?

People in the LGBTQ+ community may face barriers to seeking help unique to their sexual orientation and gender identity, including:

  • Legal definitions of domestic violence that exclude same-sex couples
  • Lack of, or lack of knowledge about, LGBTQ+-specific or LGBTQ+-friendly resources for assistance
  • Potential homophobia from staff, service providers, or non-LGBTQ+ survivors
  • Lack of confidence in the sensitivity and effectiveness of law enforcement and courts for LGBTQ+ people
  • Dangers of “outing” oneself in seeking help (risk of rejection from family, friends, and society)

What Are the Charges You Could Be Facing for Domestic Violence?

Under California domestic violence laws, it is a crime to harm or threaten to harm a spouse, former spouse, co-habitant, dating partner, or intimate partner. If you have been accused of domestic violence, criminal charges you could be facing may include domestic battery or inflicting corporal injury on an intimate partner. Consequences of a domestic violence conviction may include:

  • Mandatory minimum jail time
  • Fines and or victim restitution
  • Loss of child custody rights
  • Loss of firearms rights
  • Mandatory participation in a domestic violence class
  • Permanent criminal record

What Steps Should You Take If You Have Been Accused of Domestic Violence?

  • If someone has accused you of domestic violence, the first thing to do is to give your accuser space. If you share a residence, relocate temporarily.
  • Stay off social media and ask your friends and family to leave you out as well. Any information about you on social media, including pictures, can potentially be used against you.
  • Consult with an attorney as soon as possible. Your best chance for the most favorable outcome is to have an experienced criminal defense lawyer handling your case.

Why Choose jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys?

Our founding attorney, James N. Dicks, is a former Los Angeles Police Department investigator and a Certified Criminal Law Specialist. We are seasoned legal strategists who can craft a defense to get your charges reduced or dismissed and negotiate with prosecutors on your behalf. We firmly believe that, as human beings, we all make mistakes, and everyone deserves a second chance.

If you are facing domestic violence charges, contact jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys at (760) 630-2000 to get an experienced San Diego criminal defense attorney on your side.

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