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Sexual Violence Among LGBTQ+ Youth is Subject of New Research by Adhia and Bekemeier

Posted: 11/9/2023 (CSDE Research)

CSDE Affiliates Avanti Adhia (Department of Child, Family, and Population Health Nursing), Betty Bekemeier (Department of Child, Family, and Population Health Nursing), and co-authors recently published their work in the Journal of School Health, titled “Improving School Environments for Preventing Sexual Violence Among LGBTQ+ Youth“. Sexual violence (SV) is a serious public health concern, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and questioning (LGBTQ+) youth report higher rates than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. This qualitative study aimed to understand LGBTQ+ students’ perspectives on how middle and high school environments can better prevent and address SV.

In partnership with a school-based LGBTQ+ support group in Washington State, authors recruited 31 LGTBQ+ students ages 13-18 for virtual interviews (nā€‰=ā€‰24) and for providing text-based answers to interview questions (nā€‰=ā€‰7). They used inductive thematic analysis to analyze data and identify themes. To prevent and respond to SV, students highlighted schools having: (1) access to gender-neutral spaces; (2) LGBTQ+ competency training for staff; (3) enforcement of school policies (eg, SV, anti-bullying) and accountability; (4) LGBTQ+-competent mental health support; and (5) comprehensive sexual health education that addresses LGBTQ+ relationships and SV. Students expressed the need for changes in school physical and social environments to address SV among LGBTQ+ youth. Incorporating youth perspectives, particularly LGBTQ+ youth at high risk of SV, can help schools implement strategies that are supported by youth and thus potentially more sustainable and effective.


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