National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
NATIONAL COALITION of ANTI-VIOLENCE PROGRAMS
About NCAVP

Our Mission:

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 violence.

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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.

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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 multiple victims.

Examples of violence experienced by lesbian, gay, transgender, bisexual and HIV-affected individuals, groups and institutions include, but are not limited to:

  • Police Misconduct & Abuse  
  • Bullying in Schools
  • Employment Discrimination   
  • Phone/E-Mail Harassment

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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 Training Initiative.

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NCAVP Firsts:

  • 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 Minette, AL.
  • 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 needs.
  • 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 immigrants.

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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.
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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 victims themselves.

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 widespread.
  • 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.

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How Is Violence in the Lives of LGBT People More Than An Issue of Safety and Criminal Justice?

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.