LGBTQ partner violence

Authored by: Adam M. Messinger , Jennifer Roark

The Routledge International Handbook of Violence Studies

Print publication date:  October  2018
Online publication date:  October  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138283442
eBook ISBN: 9781315270265
Adobe ISBN:


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Intimate partner violence (IPV) – psychological, physical, or sexual abuse perpetrated within the context of a current or former romantic or sexual relationship – is a major public health threat. It has been well documented that IPV often has long-lasting mental and physical consequences (Black et al., 2011; Coker et al., 2002). IPV was not always viewed as unacceptable, nor has it always been a crime. The movement of bringing IPV from the private, or from behind closed doors, to the public sphere began as a grassroots movement in the 1970s focused on the needs of victims identifying as heterosexual and cisgender (i.e., those whose gender identity is the same as their biological sex at birth). As such, victim services, policies, and research have historically focused on the experiences of IPV in relationships involving two heterosexual-cisgender people (HC IPV; Baker et al., 2013; Jablow, 1999). It was not until recently that practitioners, policymakers, and researchers began to increase understanding of IPV in the relationships of sexual minorities (i.e., lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and other non-heterosexual-identified people) and transgender individuals (i.e., those people whose gender identity differs from their biological sex assigned at birth). In light of research finding substantial differences between LGBTQ and HC IPV, scholars have critiqued heteronormative and cisnormative approaches to policy and service provision that ignore these distinctions (e.g., Messinger, 2017; Tigert, 2001).

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