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Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Working for Youth Justice and Safety
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Blog Discusses LGBTQ Youth and Law Enforcement Responses

February 10, 2016

The OJP Diagnostic Center has posted a blog from Dr. Meredith Dank of the Urban Institute discussing the OJJDP-funded report “Locked In: Interactions with the Criminal Justice and Child Welfare Systems for LGBTQ Youth, YMSM, and YWSW Who Engage in Survival Sex.” The report describes the cycle of involvement in the juvenile justice, criminal justice, and child welfare systems affecting youth who engaged in survival sex and are self-identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) youth; young men who have sex with men (YMSM); and young women who have sex with women (YWSW). The report found that more than 70 percent of LGBTQ youth had been arrested at least once, with some experiencing violence, abuse, and disrespect when interacting with law enforcement and system stakeholders. The blog calls for law enforcement to improve responses to LGBTQ youth through trauma-informed support, specific protocols for victims of trafficking, safe and supportive arrests, and proper shelter options. In addition, the blog details recommendations from study participants on how law enforcement, courts, and child welfare can better interact with LGBTQ youth, including LGBTQ sensitivity and cultural competency training.

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