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Blog Post

OVW Commemorates Pride Month

As we continue to celebrate Pride Month, the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) reaffirms our commitment to using every available resource to protect and uphold the safety, dignity, and well-being of the LGBTQI2S+ community. Our dedication extends beyond June, ensuring support throughout the entire year.

At OVW, we are committed to preventing and addressing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking regardless of sex, gender, gender identity, or sexual orientation. We stand as a strong ally to advocates who have worked tirelessly to make it safer for LGBTQI2S+ survivors. We support their courageous leadership to advance our nation’s commitment to equality, justice, and safety.

Though we have seen progress, members of the LGBTQI2S+ community still face high rates of discrimination and violence. According to the CDC, more than 45% of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people are survivors of intimate partner violence across their lifetime. Black transgender individuals face epidemic levels of violence. Additionally, online harassment and abuse is a pervasive and growing threat, particularly for those who identify as LGBTQI2S+.

Until the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 2013, there were no specific federal protections in place for members of the LGBTQI2S+ community seeking services to address sexual assault, domestic and dating violence, or stalking. VAWA 2013 explicitly prohibited discrimination based on actual or perceived gender identity or sexual orientation, in addition to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, or disability. This groundbreaking provision ensures LGBTQI2S+ survivors are not denied access to the critical services that OVW funds. OVW has prioritized improving outreach, services, civil and criminal justice responses, prevention, and support for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking from underserved communities, particularly LGBTQI2S+ survivors and others from historically marginalized communities.

Ensuring justice, healing, and safety for members of the LGBTQI2S+ community requires more than a one-size-fits-all approach. In 2022, the most recent reauthorization of VAWA authorized a new LGBT Specific Services Program to support organizations to maintain and replicate existing successful services and resources and develop innovative strategies and projects to enhance access to services and resources for LGBTIQ2S+ victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Through OVW’s Grants for Outreach and Services to Underserved Populations (Underserved Grant Program) and its Training and Technical Assistance Initiative, OVW supports a variety of projects and organizations that have a primary focus on improving access to services and support for LGBTQI2S+ survivors. Collectively, these organizations offer a wide range of services, including specialized mental health services in multiple languages, culturally specific victim advocacy, and public awareness programs, with some of these projects focusing on rural areas. Some initiatives include trauma-informed training for law enforcement, comprehensive health and wellness services, and outreach projects that offer counseling, case management, and economic resources. Many projects focus on long-term safety and stability, culturally appropriate services, and housing assistance for LGBTQI2S+ survivors. Additionally, they train community partners and criminal and civil justice personnel to address the needs of underserved populations, promoting gender equity to end gender-based violence.

We encourage organizations by and for LGBTQI2S+ communities to apply for OVW grants not only within the Underserved Grant Program but across all of OVW’s discretionary grant programs. LGBTQI2S+ organizations may also apply for funds as a sub-recipient through OVW’s STOP Formula Grant Program (STOP Program), which provides federal financial assistance to every state and territory to distribute to victim service providers, law enforcement agencies, prosecutors’ offices, and courts. VAWA requires that recipients under the STOP Program recognize and meaningfully respond to the needs of underserved populations, including populations underserved because of sexual orientation or gender identity.

While we recognize and celebrate the progress made, we acknowledge that there is still much more work to be done. To continue making progress, we need to address the intersection of different forms of discrimination and strengthen a coordinated community response where any person impacted by gender-based violence can access a range of options for safety, justice, and healing, and where we can advance our nation’s commitment to ending gender-based violence.     

If you are in immediate danger, call 911. OVW does not provide services directly to the general public. Local resources are available on our website. Immediate and confidential support is available 24/7 through the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673), or by visiting You can reach the National Domestic Violence Hotline by visiting, calling 1-800-799-7233 (TTY 1-800-787-3224), or texting “START” to 88788. You can also call the National Center for Victims of Crime hotline at 855-4-VICTIM (855-484-2846) or the Strong Hearts Native Helpline at 844-762-8483. You can find LGBTQI2S+ -specific resources at The Trevor Project and the LGBT National Help Center


Updated June 28, 2024