Identifying and responding to LGBT+ intimate partner violence from a criminal justice perspective

Brenda Russell, Celia Torres

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

3 Scopus citations


The disparity of identification and response to incidents of intimate partner violence (IPV) within the LGBT+ community can be boiled down to discretion. From healthcare providers to social service professionals to police, the use of discretion is rampant and can lead to inconsistent and often detrimental services to the LGBT+ community. For instance, Healthcare workers decide whether to screen an individual for intimate partner violence. Social service professionals can choose whether to allow transgender victims stay in shelters based on their gender identity. Law enforcement officers and legal actors can decide whom to arrest or whether charges will be pressed against perpetrators or IPV victims. At each recommended step for help-seeking victims of IPV, professionals positioned to help this vulnerable community can lack the training, awareness, sensitivity, or policies to guide decision-making processes when assisting members of the LGBT+ community. Previous research has noted a consensus of equivalent, and sometimes higher, rates of IPV within the LGBT+ community compared to the heterosexual community. Thus, the disparity in service provider and criminal justice practices calls for reform designed to combat potential biases in order to better assist the LGBT+ community when they are most vulnerable. By eliminating ambiguity of policies and practices involving the LGBT+ community, requiring frequent training for law enforcement/health care professionals/social service providers, and creating comprehensive and generalizable screening tools to detect IPV within LGBT+ relationships, we can begin to properly treat victims and punish perpetrators of LGBT+ intimate partner violence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationIntimate Partner Violence and the LGBT+ Community
Subtitle of host publicationUnderstanding Power Dynamics
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9783030447625
ISBN (Print)9783030447618
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Psychology


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