Responding to Sexual Violence in LGBTQ+ Communities: Law Enforcement Strategies and Considerations

Sexual violence perpetrated against individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and queer (LGBTQ+) warrants the full attention of law enforcement agencies. Because sexual assault is one of the least commonly reported crimes[1] and underserved communities are among the most at risk,[2] effectively handling sexual violence in LGBTQ+ communities is particularly critical for law enforcement agencies as they aim to reduce violent crime in their jurisdictions, provide a victim-centered response, and encourage victims to report crimes and participate in the criminal justice system.

Drawing from promising practices and innovative initiatives pioneered by law enforcement agencies throughout the United States, the IACP, in collaboration with a group of multidisciplinary subject matter experts, has developed a new, free tool: Responding to Sexual Violence in LGBTQ+ Communities: Law Enforcement Strategies and Considerations. The foundational information presented in this document is of particular importance for building trust and relationships with LGBTQ+ communities. The goal of Responding to Sexual Violence in LGBTQ+ Communities is to strengthen law enforcement’s understanding of and response to sexual violence in LGBTQ+ communities. The document is designed to be used in tandem with the IACP Sexual Assault Response and Investigation Policy and Training Content and Investigative Guidelines and Sexual Assault Incident Reports: Investigative Strategies. The considerations and assessment questionnaire will aid in strengthening overall agency strategies to promote an understanding of the complexities of sexual violence in LGBTQ+ communities and encourage the implementation of proactive procedures. It is imperative that agencies strive to build strong relationships with leaders and members of LGBTQ+ communities and implement effective practices department-wide through agency mission, policy, training, and personnel management to proactively address and prevent sexual violence in LGBTQ+ communities.

This resource was made possible through a grant from Raliance, a national leadership collaborative dedicated to ending sexual violence in one generation. Raliance’s grant program advances practices and policies that reduce the likelihood of sexual violence, improve the response to victims, and strengthen communities’ capacities to create safe environments. To access the document, please visit the Violence Against Women webpage. For more information about Responding to Sexual Violence in LGBTQ+ Communities, please contact Michael Rizzo, IACP Project Manager, at or 1-800-843-4227, ext. 818.

[1] Lynn Langton, Marcus Berzofsky, Christopher Krebs, and Hope Smiley-McDonald, Victimizations Not Reported to the Police, 2006-2010, report from the National Crime Victimization Survey, August 2012,

[2] Office for Victims of Crime, “Responding to Transgender Victims of Sexual Assault,”

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