The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs (NCAVP) addresses the pervasive
problem of violence committed against and within the lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender (LGBT) and HIV-affected communities.
NCAVP is a coalition of programs that document and advocate for victims of
anti-LGBT and anti-HIV/AIDS violence/harassment, domestic violence, sexual
assault, police misconduct and other forms of victimization.
NCAVP is dedicated to creating a national response to the violence plaguing
these communities. Further, NCAVP supports existing anti-violence organizations
and emerging local programs in their efforts to document and prevent such
NCAVP's Special Relationship with the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project:
NCAVP is currently being 'incubated' by the New York City Gay & Lesbian Anti-Violence Project (AVP). This incubation is a unique relationship in which staff, office space and other resources are given as in-kind support to NCAVP by AVP. It is through this process that AVP and the rest of NCAVP's members hope that NCAVP will have the support that it needs to grow into a true, self-sustaining and permanent national advocate for for LGBT victims of violence and local LGBT anti-violence organizations across the nation.
What is Violence, and How Do NCAVP and Its Member Organizations Define It?
Violence is defined as any act or pattern of behavior of physical, emotional,
psychological, sexual or economic force, pressure, coercion, domination, power,
or control exerted so as to cause damage, abuse, intimidation, harassment,
terror or injury perpetrated by one or more individuals against a single or
Examples of violence experienced by lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and
HIV-affected individuals, groups and institutions include, but are not limited
What Does NCAVP Do?
NCAVP is the only national organization dedicated to reducing violence and its
impacts on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals in the
U.S. NCAVP currently unites over 20 community-based LGBT anti-violence
organizations, including the pioneers in the field, in cities and regions
across the country and Toronto, Ontario. NCAVP works to research and
document bias and hate crimes, domestic violence in LGBT relationships, sexual
assault and abuse, “pick-up” crimes, and other characteristic forms
of violence affecting LGBT individuals, and is dedicated to helping local
communities establish, promote and expand anti-violence education, prevention,
organizing, advocacy and direct services.
Because the core of NCAVP's mission is to raise awareness and educate the
general public about the existence and extent of violence against and within
LGTBH communities. NCAVP’s mission also charges it with encouraging and
assisting in the development of policy that assists victims of violence,
addresses the perpetrators of violence and changes the social atmosphere of
violence in which we all live and participate.
Through its Violence Response Initiative, NCAVP also provides direct-response to
critical incidents of anti-LGBTH violence around the country and assists local
communities, survivors and families in coping with incidents. Finally, NCAVP
provides support to local communities seeking to create long-term responses to
violence through technical assistance, guidance, and information and
materials-sharing with the goal of creating more local anti-violence programs
across the country. These activities, as well our awareness, education and
policy development programming are encapsulated in NCAVP’s Education and
NCAVP was the first national LGTB organization to develop an on-site, rapid
response capability to address the most atrocious incidents of anti-LGTB
violence anywhere in the U.S. Over the past five years, NCAVP has dispatched
experienced anti-violence advocates and service personnel to help local LGTB
communities recover in the aftermaths of some of the most brutal anti-LGTB hate
crimes on record. These have included the 2001 beating death of a West Virginia
man by three pipe-wielding attackers; the 1999 beating death of PFC. Barry
Winchell at Ft. Campbell, KY; a series of murders in 2003 – some still
unsolved—of transgender women in Washington, DC; and most recently, the
July 19 stabbing, strangling and immolation of Scotty Joe Weaver in Bay
We were the first national organization to monitor and report about a
comprehensive array of bias and hate crimes committed against LGTB individuals
throughout the US Most recently, NCAVP released comprehensive data about 2,051
documented anti-LGTB incidents reported to its members in 2003. These incidents
included more than 600 assaults and 18 murders (see note 1).
We were the first national organization to develop equally comprehensive data
and service provider resources to address domestic violence in same-gender
relationships. Since 1998, NCAVP has compiled the only national survey report
analyzing thousands of same-gender domestic violence incidents (including
several additional murders) documented by its members each year. This report
has had an important impact in the domestic violence service community, where
it has helped garner more attention to same-gender domestic violence issues and
We were the first national organization working substantively in other ways,
ranging from monthly conference calls to an annual Member Roundtable, to
enhance the accessibility, quality and efficacy of LGTB community-based
anti-violence services. In particular, NCAVP has researched and helped
disseminate model programs and best practices to serve hard-to-reach, neglected
and/or highly affected subpopulations within the LGTB community, especially
youth, seniors, transgender people, people of color, people with HIV/AIDS and
1. Not all murders of LGTB individuals reported to NCAVP are provably hate crimes in the narrow sense. Indeed, many will remain unsolved. In such instances, NCAVP counts homicides as potentially inclusive of anti-LGTB bias when they show other hallmarks of hate-motivated crimes, such as exceptionally violent content and/or commission by apparent strangers.
How significant or prevalent is violence in the lives of LGBT people?
The best available research suggests that 40% of lesbians and gay men in the
U.S. consider themselves the victims of hate violence in their adult lifetimes,
and that hate violence is a near-universal experience of openly LGBT youth. At
the same time, domestic violence afflicts at least a quarter of same-gender
couples (the same percentage as among heterosexuals), while an unknown number
of others, mainly youth and elders, fall victim to other family member abuse.
Even the minority of LGBT people who do not personally experience these or
other characteristic forms of violence (which include sexual assaults and
abuse, “pick-up” crimes, family abuse and police misconduct) may
suffer the secondary effects, when friends or family members are targeted or
when they limit their own freedom or self-expression because they fear becoming
Making matters worse is that LGBT survivors of violence, their partners and
family members cannot always (or even usually) rely on police, prosecutors,
courts or mainstream victim service agencies to help them. Taking each of these
categories in turn:
In 2003, of 641 (out of more than 2,000) documented anti-LGBT incidents that
NCAVP knows were reported to police, arrests were made in just 120 instances.
Moreover, in a majority of cases, police were described by bias crime victims
as “indifferent” or hostile.
Prosecutors in jurisdictions across the country tend to plead down charges of
crimes against LGBT individuals because the latter are
“unsympathetic” to juries. It is not uncommon for individuals who
inflict permanently disabling assaults on LGBT victims to receive sentences
limited to community service and probation.
The laws of most states prevent same-gender couples from Family Courts and all
their satellite programs to adjudicate and remedy domestic violence. Most
domestic/family violence investigators are not trained or directed to search
for signs of abuse specifically targeting LGBT family members – even
though, as reports by NCAVP’s member agencies attest, this abuse is
NCAVP has documented numerous cases in which government run and
taxpayer-supported crime victim assistance agencies have refused to compensate
or provide assistance to LGBT crime victims, on the grounds that their sexual
orientations or behaviors “contributed to” the crimes against them
(they met the perpetrators in a LGBT bar, for example, or permitted them into
their homes). In the case of domestic violence agencies, most only serve women
presumed to be heterosexual.
How Is Violence in the Lives of LGBT People More Than An Issue of Safety and
From a public health standpoint, the legacy of these issues extends well past
isolated physical injury or disability to include implications for mental
health, alcohol and substance use and complementary risk-taking behaviors.
Fear of violence can also act to keep many LGBT individuals from living
our lives openly. Because it is much harder for anyone to focus on their
physical well-being when suffering from trauma or distress, each of these
consequences in turn can feed ongoing health challenges faced by LGBT people
including Hepatitis C, HIV/AIDS and other STDs.