LGBT – Work Package 1

Violence against lesbian, gay and bisexual people
Supervisors: prof. dr. Mieke Van Houtte & dr. Alexis Dewaele
Researcher: Lies D’haese

The focus of this Work Package lies on the various types of aggression and violence directed against lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) people. Relatively little is known about such violence and reliable statistics are scarce. By means of a qualitative and quantitative research design, this important issue will be more clearly outlined in this Work Package.

During 2012, a qualitative research project was conducted to explore the field. In-depth interviews with victims helped sketch out in greater detail their experiences with violence, the contexts in which they encountered verbal and physical violence, the meanings the victims attach to these experiences, and the effects of violence on their personal lives. Additionally, four focus groups were conducted with LGBs (not necessarily victims). In this way, perceptions about the origin and consequences of violence towards LGBs were collected.

The registration of homophobic violence is currently seriously limited, because victims do not always report the incident to an official authority. Also, some types of homophobic violence, such as verbal violence, are seldom registered or not registered at all. Therefore, we conducted a large-scale online survey from May until September 2013, with LGBs as the target population. The questionnaire measures various types of homophobic violence, such as being insulted and being shouted at. These forms of violence are often perceived as harmless. However, research shows that, when they are encountered on a regular base, they can have a serious impact on the mental wellbeing of individuals. Moreover, verbal violence can be a stepping stone to other, more physical forms of violence. A quantitative survey should be able to gain insight into the prevalence of the various types of violence towards LGBs, the context in which it happens, the accompanying feelings of unsafety in victims, and the profiles and motives of the perpetrators.

Click here to read the Press Release & the Research Publications in English

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