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Sexual orientation a factor in violence: StatsCan

Gays have low satisfaction with police, study suggests

Gays, lesbians and bisexuals are more likely to be victims of violent crime than heterosexuals, suggests a recent study by Statistics Canada.

Based on data from a 2004 survey of Canadians, gays were nearly 2.5 times more likely to report being a victim of sexual assault, robbery or physical assault than heterosexuals.

Even when considering characteristics common among gays — more likely to be single, go out at night and live in an urban area — being gay, lesbian or bisexual significantly increased the odds of being a victim of violent crime.

But despite these statistics, the study found gays feel nearly just as safe as heterosexuals. More than 9 out of 10 gay, lesbian and bisexual Canadians felt “somewhat” or “very” satisfied with their personal safety.

The study also found:

  • Police relations: Gays expressed lower levels of satisfaction with local police. 60 percent of heterosexuals feel that police do a good job of treating people fairly, but only 42 percent of gays feel the same way.
  • Spousal abuse: Gays, lesbians and bisexuals experience higher levels of spousal violence. 15 percent of gays and lesbians reported spousal abuse compared to 7 percent of heterosexuals.
  • Discrimination: 44 percent of gays and lesbians felt they had experienced some form of discrimination in the past five years, compared to 14 percent of heterosexuals.