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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
For more than 50 years, June has been celebrated worldwide as Pride Month, with parades, picnics, parties, workshops, concerts, and other events held to honor the lives and contributions of the LGBTQ community. These events are good opportunities for state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) law enforcement agencies to reach out and improve trust with a population that has been historically marginalized—and continues to be. Many jurisdictions have reported an increase in hate crimes during the last five years, an increase compounded by many LGBTQ individuals’ reluctance to report crimes for fear of facing discrimination from law enforcement. However, federal law enforcement partners have a variety of resources to support LGBTQ individuals, their families, and communities.
The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) launched an updated initiative in 2021 to encourage reporting of hate crimes at 800-CALL-FBI or via the anonymous e-Tip Form. The FBI, and its 56 divisions located around the country, also provides support and resources, including victim services, for SLTT law enforcement investigating hate crimes.
The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) has worked with the FBI, other Department of Justice components, and other federal agencies to host a series of meetings and listening sessions focused on LGBTQ topics. One outcome of these meetings was a publication with 45 recommendations based on the experiences of people in small and large communities. The report, Memorializing Transgender Day of Remembrance: A Report from the Interagency Working Group on Safety, Opportunity, and Inclusion for Transgender and Gender Diverse Individuals, includes basics such as treating every person with respect and investigating reported hate crimes.
Another outcome of this interagency collaboration is the implementation of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2022, which includes funding for survivor services and supports, including to underserved and marginalized communities, as well as training and funding to support evidence-based practices in responding to gender-based violence, promote the use of trauma-informed, victim-centered training, and improve homicide reduction initiatives. The Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) administers more than $500 million a year in funding to law enforcement agencies and local support services. OVW has also just released an updated guide for law enforcement on responding to sexual assault and domestic violence without bias.
Among Generation Z—people born in 1997 or later—more than one person in five identifies as LGBTQ, so resources for engaging this community are particularly useful in dealing with young people. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have a variety of factsheets and LGBTQ resources, including Advocates for Youth and the APA Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity overview.
Youth.gov is a central collection of resources created by federal agencies and community partners to help communities work effectively with children, teens, and young adults; it includes a Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity page and a Bullying Prevention section which includes A Guide for Understanding, Supporting, and Affirming LGBTQI2-S Children, Youth, and Families.
Domestic violence and homelessness are critical issues that impact LGBTQ individuals and their dependents, and resources for SLTT to help vulnerable community members with these issues are available at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ Family and Youth Services Bureau Domestic Violence Services Network webpage. Here, law enforcement can find links to emergency housing, legal advocates, and counseling so they can connect crime victims and those engaged in nuisance crimes to community supports.
Frontline officers and deputies play a critical role in the safety of the whole community, including LGBTQ+ individuals. Resources are available to help prevent and investigate sexual and physical assaults, harassment, and online cybercrimes, and to collaborate with local organizations to provide victim services. Building trust with community members will improve safety for everyone.
The COPS Office also has publications and Community Policing Topic webpages to support SLTT in responding effectively to crimes affecting the LGBTQ community:
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