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Proposed Change Would Reduce Data on Crimes Against LGBT Teenagers

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The U.S. Department of Justice has proposed changing an ongoing federal crime study to bar questions about sexuality for minors.

The Justice Department wants to revise the National Crime Victimization Survey to raise the minimum age at which participants would be asked questions about their gender identity and sexual orientation to 18, "due to concerns about the potential sensitivity of these questions for adolescents," according to an April Federal Register notice.

The survey has asked 16- and 17-year-olds about their sexuality and gender identity since 2016, so there is little more than a baseline in the data. It does not ask specifically about school-based crimes. By contrast, in 2015-16, the U.S. Department of Education's civil rights data collection began to track school-based harassment based on a student's real or perceived sexual orientation; those accounted for 16 percent of all reported bullying incidents.

Some advocates have raised concerns about the Justice Department change, citing the need for data, for instance, to learn how the criminal-justice system responds to young LGBT victims.

Vol. 37, Issue 31, Page 4

Published in Print: May 16, 2018, as Proposed Change Would Reduce Data on Crimes Against LGBT Teenagers
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