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Responding to Transgender Victims of Sexual Assault

"Members of the transgender community are among the most misunderstood and marginalized of populations, leaving them vulnerable to sexual violence. This vulnerability, coupled with past discrimination, stereotypical perceptions, and other barriers to service, means lost opportunities for justice and healing. Yet another concern is that frequently, victims must explain to service providers what it means to be transgender in order to receive culturally competent care. When faced with this lack of understanding, many victims forgo seeking assistance out of fear, mistrust, or frustration. But they urgently need our help... The guide presents a wide array of information in a user-friendly electronic format that allows practitioners to pick and choose the information that is most useful to them, from basic information about the transgender experience to specific guidance for sexual assault service providers and advocates, law enforcement officers, medical and mental health care providers, and support group facilitators. It includes practical tools to promote understanding and support of transgender victims, such as preferred language terms. Everyone is encouraged to review the guide's core resource, "Transgender 101," to gain a basic understanding of this population before accessing the educational provider-specific sections. We hope that you will find this guide to be invaluable in preparing you to serve transgender victims of sexual violence, as well as helping to build more enlightened communities. We welcome your ideas for additional resources to enhance our collective cultural competence as we strive to serve all victims of crime" (p. 2). Sections comprising this toolkit are: a message from OVC Director Joye E. Frost; about this guide; Transgender 101; sexual assault in the transgender community; and tips for those who serve victims.