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January 25, 2013

CDC Releases Data on Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Among Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual People


Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) 2010 data on intimate partner and sexual violence among lesbian, gay and bisexual people in a report entitled "2010 Findings on Victimization by Sexual Orientation." This report is the first nationally representative prevalence estimate of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking among those who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual. The report shows that lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience intimate partner and sexual violence at rates that are the same as or higher than rates experienced by heterosexual people. This data follows the NISVS Summary Report, released in December 2011, which confirmed that intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking are a significant public health problem in the United States.

"This report demonstrates the widespread and serious crisis of intimate partner violence impacting millions across the country, including those who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual," said Kim Gandy, President and CEO of NNEDV. "All people, all of our communities, are affected by domestic and sexual violence, and resources must be available to address these crimes wherever and to whomever they occur."

Key findings from the report include:

  • Lesbian, gay and bisexual people experience intimate partner and sexual violence at rates that are the same as or higher than rates experienced by heterosexual people;
  • Bisexual women experience the highest lifetime prevalence of physical violence, rape and/or stalking by an intimate partner; and
  • Among those who experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking in the context of an intimate relationship, the majority of bisexual and heterosexual women (89.5% and 98.7%, respectively) reported only male perpetrators. The majority of gay men (90.7%) also reported having only male perpetrators.

The report underscores the unique challenges and barriers facing lesbian, gay and bisexual victims of violence, including the ways in which a person's sexual orientation might be used as yet another tactic by an abuser to exert control over a victim. Accordingly, the CDC's recommendations include a call for increased research, prevention and responses specific to lesbian, gay and bisexual victims of violence.

"Local programs are making every effort to serve all victims of intimate partner violence, yet they need increased resources and training to enable them to provide effective and targeted services," said Gandy. "The Violence Against Women Act's reauthorization provides a critical opportunity to ensure that programs have the tools they need to best serve lesbian, gay and bisexual victims – indeed, all victims – of violence."