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Same-Sex Intimate Partner ViolenceResearch Paper

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Domestic Violence with LGBTQI

Domestic violence is a scourge of society and it can affect family in all its forms including people related by blood as well as people that are engaged in romantic relationships. The people within the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual, queer and inter-sexed (LGBTQI) community are no different in any of those regards. This report shall describe the problem of domestic violence within the LGBTQI community as well as why it is important to improve the system and why it is important to focus on this problem. While LGBTQI people make up a fairly stark minority of the broader population of the United States, it is no less tragic or horrid when people in the community are victims of domestic violence and thus they must be protected and assisted as well.

Analysis

One manifestation of domestic violence for the LGBTQI community is how they are (or are not) protected by social service programs when they are abused. Indeed, a very recent study found that transgender people are not given equal treatment when it comes to their passage into and through domestic violence and rape crisis treatment programs. To use the words of the author, "transgender people often face barriers in accessing culturally competent domestic violence and rape crisis services, yet few studies have used a national sample of transgender people to study this topic or examine differential rates of discrimination within this population" (Seelman, 2015). The Seelman study found that transgender people of color, those with disabilities and those more "frequently perceived to be transgender" by others are more likely to receive or experience unequal treatment when it comes to crisis programs relating to domestic violence (Seelman, 2015).

Some researchers have gone to the trouble to see just how many police officers out there have actually dealt with same-sex domestic violence cases and the surprising answer is that a good majority of them had encountered such a situation at least once. As stated by Tesch et al. (2010), there was a survey of 91 police officers in a total of five different towns in Illinois. Indeed, a sound majority of the officers had encountered at least one same-sex domestic violence call within the last six months. However, those same officers reported receiving little to no training on how to handle and deal with such same-sex domestic violence systems. Apparently, the departments and their training did not see enough of a need based on prevalence or difference between different-sex and same-sex domestic violence to have such training for the officers. The study on this subject notes that training for different-sex domestic violence was "readily available" but it was basically absent when it came to same-sex domestic violence (Tesch, Bekerian, English & Harrington, 2010).

On the other end of the spectrum is how offenders and perpetuators of domestic violence are handled. One commonly touted and used method is mass incarceration of violence offenders up to and including people that engage in domestic violence. For people within the LGBTQI community, this is an especially sensitive topic because the risk of being abused, assaulted and otherwise molested while in prison is sky-high. Further, there are those that assert that mass incarceration, whether it be for LGBTQI or non-LGBTQI people, is not generally the right answer in terms of rehabilitation and reforming the person. Indeed, some people assert that it actually makes offenders more violent and more likely to recidivate. However, even if some see a foreboding "pursuit of criminalization" in an "era of mass incarceration," there are also limitations seen when it comes to the commonly used social work responses when it comes to domestic violence offenders in this country. Many assert that a social work-type response if far superior than just throwing someone into a cell. As such, many assert that the social services offered for domestic violence like counseling and diversion programs are the way to go. However, some people simply do not respond and react properly to those opportunities to act and be better. Instead, they commonly repeat the same cycles of violence and those cycles are often intermixed with things like illicit drugs, alcohol and so forth. There is the perception that some people just cannot or will not act within the constraints that they should and that jail is the only option for such people. At the same time, the incarceration rates in the United States are among the highest in the developed world and that is certainly nothing to be proud of. As noted before, LGBTQI people are especially targeted and vulnerable while in a prison system. Some prisons use classification systems to protect people in the LGBTQI but many other prisons do not (Kim, 2013).

Regardless of the legal or social work means used to address the domestic violence problem, it is very important to find a workable solution that works as much as is possible because the stakes of domestic violence can be very high. Not only can it create a serious trauma for the victims of the crime, it can actually lead to people getting maimed or killed, as detailed by a report written by Websdale in 2012. The study notes that the investigation of deaths related to domestic violence are quite often handled in a very diligent and specific way. As noted by Websdale, there are anywhere from 150 to 175 permanent domestic violence fatality review teams and they operate in a total of forty-five out of the fifty states in the United States. Some teams are more regional while others, like those that exist in sparsely populated states like Montana, New Mexico, Kansas, Iowa and Oklahoma, operate basically on a state-wide basis. On the other hand, states like Florida and California can have one to two dozen teams each due to the high amount of populous areas that those states have. Regardless, it is clear that the forensic and statistical analysis of domestic violence statistics and events is being heavily analyzed and pored over by the law enforcement agencies of the United States. Even if there is an uneven approach to how to deal with offenders and the training that pertains to LGBTQI-involved incidents, there is at least a presence of people that wish to get to the facts and trends as they exist. However, one trend and focus that is very persistent with fatality reviews would be the violent actions of men against women. This makes sense given that they would dominate domestic violence cases in general as well as fatalities in particular. However, the factors and facets of LGBTQI-related domestic violence should not be ignored or cast aside as those cases relating to LGBTQI domestic violence absolutely matter as well (Websdale, 2012).

One major roadblock when it comes to dealing with domestic violence incidents and enforcing the associated laws is that many of the laws of the books are written with gender-specific pronouns and those pronouns are often written from the perspective and assumption that men and women form domestic romantic relationships. When it comes to prosecuting someone for domestic violence that is of the LGBTQI community, this can present obviously issues if one of the people involved is transgender and/or the two (or more) parties involved are the same gender. Further, despite the recent Supreme Court of the United States ruling that gay marriage should be legal in all states, this was not the law of the land a scant month or so ago and many of the statutes still in use in the states, counties and cities of America are referring to "traditional" heterosexual marriage when it comes to words like "spouse" and "partner." When it comes to laws surrounding things like domestic violence, rape, etc., the verbiage involved can matter a great deal because it can have a direct effect on how or if someone is prosecuted under a given law. The solution to this, as explained by English (2011) is to craft domestic violence and other laws that are gender-neutral because there is obviously not a single combination or iteration of what makes up a romantic or married relationship. As such, the laws and regulations on the books should reflect this. In other words, a domestic violence incident between a married man and women should be treated the same as a domestic violence incident between two gay males. There are obviously cultural and societal differences in how those two situations could and should be handled. However, the actual legal adjudication should manifest in basically identical fashion irrespective of the gender/sexuality of the people involved. Unfortunately, many laws and many of the people enforcing them are using outmoded if not bigoted thinking and this continues to manifest even after the aforementioned Supreme Court ruling (English, 2011).

The final source consulted for this literature review names some facts as it pertains to why it is important for professionals and emergency personnel such as police officers, social workers and so forth to know the differences and trends that exist in the LGBTQI community that are not typically… [END OF PREVIEW]

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