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Florida’s LGBTQ+ Community & Domestic Violence
As of this writing, Florida is a difficult place to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community. In early April 2023, the advocacy group Equality Florida took the step of issuing a travel warning for LGBTQ+ people, citing the current administration’s legislative direction and a general lack of protection for members of those communities. When LGBTQ+ people are the victims of intimate partner violence (IPV), the mutual distrust between them and law enforcement only worsens the situation of many.
No Confidence In Law Enforcement
Data from the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) estimates that approximately 26 percent of gay men, 44 percent of lesbian women, and between 38-60 percent of bisexual people have experienced intimate partner violence (most commonly sexual or physical assault, and stalking). However, only around 5 percent of all victims sought any kind of restraining order after their experiences.
There are several different reasons for this, but many of them boil down to a profound pessimism and/or distrust about how their case will be handled by law enforcement. Studies have shown that between law enforcement’s historical harassment of the community and contemporary homophobia, a pattern of discrimination is clear. A 2013 study showed that of the LGBTQ+ survivors of violence who interacted with police, nearly half (48 percent) experienced police misconduct.
Should I Report?
If you are a member of the LGBTQ+ community and you have been a victim of domestic violence in Florida, it can feel as though you have nowhere to turn – and unique factors can complicate matters. For example, only LGBTQ+ relationships may come with the threat (express or implied) to ‘out’ someone, and even only doing so to law enforcement may mean the secret gets out to people who may use that knowledge for ill.
The decision to report IPV can only be yours – but if you choose to do so, it is important to be aware that you will not be going through the legal process alone. Having a knowledgeable attorney on your side can be the difference between success and failure – and can also remind you that you have allies and rights.
Contact A West Palm Beach Domestic Violence Attorney
No one should have to experience intimate partner violence, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity, regardless of where they live. If you are in this situation, contacting a West Palm Beach criminal attorney from Perlet & Shiner, P.A. can be your first step toward peace of mind. Contact our office today to speak to an attorney.