SACRAMENTO – Leading a coalition of 10 Attorneys General, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra today submitted a comment letter to the U.S. Department of Justice (USDOJ) opposing a proposal that would end the collection of data related to violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning (LGBTQ) youth.
“As a parent, the last thing you want is to send your children off to school and worry about their safety, wellbeing, and whether they are being bullied or assaulted,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Abandoning the collection of information about violence against LGBTQ youth is a mistake with serious consequences. Law enforcement agencies, policy makers, and community leaders rely on data regarding crime trends to determine how to prevent bullying, harassment and other abuse from happening. Once again, the Trump Administration has put its politics ahead of protecting our people — in this case, our children.”
Last month, USDOJ announced its plans to revise the National Crime Victimization Survey to eliminate the collection of information about sexual orientation and gender identity from youth under age 18. The confidential, voluntary survey is an important source of national data on violence against LGBTQ youth and a critical tool to learn whether crimes are being reported and how the criminal justice system is responding to young LGBTQ victims.
According to a survey of youth in California public schools, those who identified as LQBTQ reported higher rates of abuse, verbal harassment and physical harassment compared to non-LGBTQ youth. LGBTQ youth also reported feeling less safe at school. USDOJ, along with the U.S. Department of Education, published a report finding that LGBTQ youth were almost twice as likely to be bullied and threatened or injured by a weapon at school; almost twice as likely to be in a physical fight; and were more likely to be offered, sold, or given illegal drugs at school.
Joining Attorney General Becerra in sending the letter are attorneys general from: Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington.
A copy of the letter can be found here.