Overview of LGBT Youth Relationship Violence

The Problem
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning (LGBTQQ) youth experience dating abuse at the same rates and in similar ways as heterosexual couples do. In fact, one in three young people — straight, gay and everyone in between — experience some form of dating abuse (loveisrespect.org).
A study of self-identified GLBT youth measured five types of violence: controlling behaviors, threats to physical safety, emotional abuse, physical abuse, and sexual abuse. Of the males, 43.6 percent had experienced at least one type of abuse from a same-sex partner, and 39.8 percent of the females reported experiencing at least one type of abuse from a same-sex partner. Controlling behaviors were the most common type of abuse, followed by emotional abuse (Journal of Adolescent Health, 2002).
What’s unique for LGBTQQ youth
  • Those in same-sex relationships typically experience the same types of violence as those in opposite-sex relationships, but same -sex partners or transgender partners may have the additional threat and fear of being “outed” by their partner.  
  • Lack of access to models of healthy adult same-sex relationships.
  • Additionally, youth may struggle with accessing help because of…
    • Shame or Embarrassment – Internalized Homophobia or Transphobia
    • Fear of not Being Believed or Taken Seriously. 
    • Fear of Retaliation, Harassment, Rejection or Bullying. 
    • Less Legal Protection. 
Resources on Relationship Violence and LGBTQQ Youth
Created by Jenny DeBower for The Center for Anti-Violence Education, 2013