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Trans People Over Four Times More Likely to be Victims of Violent Crime

Findings from the first study to examine victimization rates of transgender people using a nationally representative sample

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Transgender people are over four times more likely than cisgender people to experience violent victimization, including rape, sexual assault, and aggravated or simple assault, according to a new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law. In addition, households with a transgender person had higher rates of property victimization than cisgender households.

Researchers analyzed pooled data from the 2017 and 2018 National Crime Victimization Survey, the first comprehensive and nationally representative criminal victimization data to include information on the gender identity and sex assigned at birth of respondents.

Results showed that both transgender women and men had higher rates of violent victimization than their cisgender counterparts, but there were no differences between transgender men and women.

“The media has rightly given attention to the 2020 increase in murders of transgender women of color,” said lead author Andrew R. Flores, Affiliated Scholar at the Williams Institute. “Our study shows that both transgender women and men are also highly vulnerable to non-fatal physical and material victimization.”

KEY FINDINGS

  • Transgender people (16+) are victimized over four times more often than cisgender people. In 2017-2018, transgender people experienced 86.2 victimizations per 1,000 people compared to 21.7 victimizations per 1,000 people for cisgender people.
  • Transgender women and men had higher rates of violent victimization (86.1 and 107.5 per 1,000 people, respectively) than cisgender women and men (23.7 and 19.8 per 1,000 people, respectively).
  • One in four transgender women who were victimized thought the incident was a hate crime compared to less than one in ten cisgender women.
  • In 2017-2018, households with a transgender person had higher rates of property victimization (214.1 per 1,000 households) than cisgender households (108 per 1,000 households).
  • About half of all violent victimizations were not reported to the police. Transgender people were as likely as cisgender people to report violence to the police.

“Research has shown that experiences of victimization are related to low well-being, including suicide thoughts and attempts,” said study author Ilan H. Meyer, Distinguished Senior Scholar of Public Policy at the Williams Institute. “The results underscore the urgent need for effective policies and interventions that consider high rates of victimization experienced by transgender people.”

The Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law, a think tank on sexual orientation and gender identity law and public policy, is dedicated to conducting rigorous, independent research with real-world relevance.

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september 2021

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