Public Comment

National Crime Victimization Survey: Public Comment

LGBT youth data collection
May 2018

In April 2018, the Bureau of Justice Statistics proposed removing sexual orientation and gender identity questions for 16- and 17-year old respondents to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS).

AUTHORS
  • Adam P. Romero
    Legal Scholarship & Federal Policy Director, Former
Public Comment

Issue

NCVS is one of two main sources of data on crime in the U.S. and the primary source of information on crime victimization. The survey provides information about hate violence, sexual and other forms of assault, intimate-partner violence, robbery, property crimes, experience with the criminal system, and other criminal victimization subjects. The survey also collects demographic information from respondents, including sexual orientation and gender identity from respondents age 16 and older.

Impact

If the proposed rule is adopted, the survey will no longer collect information about sexual orientation and gender identity from 16- and 17-year old respondents. The change would result in the loss of an invaluable resource for understanding and addressing violence against LGBT youth.

Summary

The comment addresses the importance of expanding and improving federal data collection on sexual orientation and gender identity, and the importance of collecting such data from youth respondents to the National Crime Victimization Survey. If the Bureau of Justice Statistics stops collecting sexual orientation and gender identity data from youth respondents, the quality, utility, and clarity of the information collected will be adversely impacted. The comment also addresses the purported justification Bureau of Justice Statistics offered for raising the age from 16 to 18 for the sexual orientation and gender identity questions on the survey, and concluded that it was groundless—not only because surveys show that adolescents can and are willing to answer sexual orientation and gender identity questions, but also because these items are no more sensitive than other questions on the National Crime Victimization Survey. Forty-seven scholars from various disciplines joined Williams Institute scholars in signing onto the comment.

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National Crime Victimization Survey: Public Comment