Scholars File Comment on National Crime Victimization Survey Changes

On May 11, 2018, Williams Institute scholars and many other experts on sexual and gender minorities and data collection filed a comment with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) on the importance of preserving data collection on the victimization of LGBT youth.

In April 2018, the DOJ announced that it would seek to stop asking 16- and 17-year-old respondents to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) to voluntarily and confidentially disclose their sexual orientation and gender identity. According to the Department of Justice, “the minimum age for these questions will be raised to 18 due to concerns about the potential sensitivity of these questions for adolescents.”

“We are deeply concerned,” wrote the scholars, “that BJS is now proposing to stop collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data from 16- and 17-year-old respondents to the NCVS without a sufficient scientific basis for doing so, rather than expanding and improving federal data collection related to sexual and gender minority populations.”

The NCVS is a principal source of information about crime in the United States and informs efforts of policy makers, law enforcement agencies and service providers to reduce violence and protect victims. Since July 2016, the NCVS has asked all respondents aged 16 and older about their sexual orientations and gender identities, among other personal characteristics such as race and ethnicity.

Read the comment.

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