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Agency's Survey On Harm Seeks LGBTQ Participants

Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority

An Illinois agency is conducting a survey to gauge violent crime against LGBTQ  individuals.

The Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority points out research has shown a higher incidence of violence against those who identify as LGBTQ.  That’s according to the agency’s Jaclyn Houston Kolnik. Twenty percent of hate crimes reported in 2015 were related to sexual orientation or gender-identity bias.

“LGBTQ individuals talk a lot about how — when they do seek help — they have very negative responses that they've received, as well as supportive responses," she said. "So that's our hope is to kind of continue to expand this and better understand the needs of LGBTQ victims of crime.’’

Aisha Davis is with Howard Brown Health, which serves an LGBTQ clientele. She says the survey will lead to a better understanding of the community. 

“Just the gathering of information about violent crime against LGBTQ people or the community at large helps support our understanding of the different hardships that LBGTQ people face regularly. And it also gives us a tool or resource to help educate more people about what the community faces,’’ she said.

Davis says she is glad the survey request is throughout Illinois because it should return information outside the Chicago area. That’s where most supports are located.

Maureen Foertsch McKinney is news editor and equity and justice beat reporter for NPR Illinois, where she has been on the staff since 2014 after Illinois Issues magazine’s merger with the station. She joined the magazine’s staff in 1998 as projects editor and became managing editor in 2003. Prior to coming to the University of Illinois Springfield, she was an education reporter and copy editor at three local newspapers, including the suburban Chicago Daily Herald, She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in English from UIS.
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