Ending Partner Abuse in the LGBTQ Community

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Efforts to address Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) tends to focus on heterosexual women, despite IPV happening at similar or higher rates among the LGBTQ community.

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The American Medical Association (AMA) recently adopted policy at its Interim Meeting that aims to address IPV in the LGBTQ population. The new policy calls for physician and community awareness of IPV among LGBTQ patients. It also requires federal funding to support programs and services for survivors that do not discriminate against underserved communities, including sexual and gender minorities, according to a press release.

Due to the limited data available, the policy also encourages more of the research on IPV in the LGBTQ community to include studies on the prevalence, accuracy of screening tools, effectiveness of early detection and interventions, as well as the benefits and harms of screening. The policy also encourages the research to be shard and used to educate physicians and the community on these issues.

 “We encourage physicians to be alert to the possibility of intimate partner violence among their LGBTQ patients and for them to become familiar with the resources available in their communities for these patients,” AMA Board of Trustees member E. Scott Ferguson said. “As Congress considers reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, it will be important to ensure federally funded programs and services for survivors do not discriminate against sexual and gender minorities.”

IPV includes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking and psychological aggression (including coercive acts) by a current or former intimate partner—including current or former spouses, boyfriends or girlfriends, dating partners or sexual partners, according to a press release.

 In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey provided the first national-level data on the prevalence of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and stalking among the lesbian, gay and bisexual population. The pattern of results suggests that these individuals experience an equal or greater likelihood of experiencing sexual violence, stalking and IPV compared with heterosexuals, according to the AMA.