Acts of violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity are on the rise throughout the world. A report from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office of Democratic Institutions and Human Rights shows a 63 percent increase in reported crimes based on sexual orientation or gender identity from 2014 to 2017. In 2015, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights noted a life-expectancy among transgender women between 30 and 35 years whereas the expectancy of the general population was 75 years. In the United States alone, law enforcement agencies reported 7,175 hate crime incidents to the Department of Justice in 2017, an increase of over 1,000 from the year before. More than 20 percent of those reported hate crime incidents involved bias toward a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
More troubling, we know that these numbers are incomplete. Many law enforcement agencies do not record indicators of bias motivation based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people globally also do not report to the police the violence they experience, fearing retraumatization by officers, reprisals from perpetrators, and inadequate responses from the criminal justice system. In this context, the American Bar Association (ABA) Justice Works Program, a collaboration between the ABA Rule of Law Initiative (ROLI) and Center for Human Rights (CHR), provides technical assistance to civil society and justice sector actors seeking to better respond to bias-motivated violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity. As part of this effort, the Program is pleased to present the Justice Works Framework for Enhanced Responses to Bias-Motivated Violence Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression. The Justice Works Framework provides practical, operational guidance for enhanced, cross-sector responses by LGBTI civil society organizations, psychosocial support service providers, and justice sector actors to bias-motivated violence.
The ideas and concepts in the Framework were developed in conjunction with a diverse group of experts, including advocates for the rights of LGBTI people, psychosocial support service providers, police departments, prosecutors’ offices, judges, ministries of justice, and other legal practitioners. The case studies were provided by courageous individuals and organizations wishing to contribute to global efforts to better respond to bias-motivated violence against LGBTI people. We hope that the Justice Works Framework inspires LGBTI people and the organizations that represent them and justice sector actors worldwide to increasingly engage and forge strong, meaningful relationships. We hope that, following the guidance in this Framework, these relationships can become the solid foundation for justice sector actors to better uphold the rule of law, take into account the interests of LGBTI survivors, and consider the impact on the entire LGBTI community in cases of bias-motivated violence. Read the full report here.
For more information about the Justice Works Program or the Framework for Enhanced Responses to Bias-Motivated Violence Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, or Gender Expression, please contact JusticeWorks@americanbar.org.