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Non-binary and transgender Californians suffered alarming levels of physical and sexual violence in the past year

New survey shows victims suffer severe emotional impact

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- An annual survey of physical and sexual violence suffered by Californians documents for the first time the higher incidence of violence among non-binary and transgender people. One in 20 California adults has experienced physical violence (5%) in the past year, a decrease from 8% in 2022, according to The California Violence Experiences Study (CalVEX); but the reported rates for non-binary and transgender individuals were notably higher, 14% and 27%, respectively.

"The new data we have in this year's report show that rates of violence have declined since levels seen during the pandemic, but these experiences remain too common, especially for our gender diverse and sexually diverse communities," said Anita Raj, PhD, MS, Affiliate Professor at University of California San Diego and executive director of the Newcomb Institute at Tulane University. "These data have historically lacked information on non-binary and transgender individuals, so we have not had a clear picture of their experiences with violence until now."

The fourth annual CalVEX survey, covering more than 3,500 adults, also found that one in 11 adults (9%) said that they have been a victim of sexual harassment or assault in the past year, a decrease from 11% in 2022. Past year sexual harassment and assault reported by non-binary and transgender adults was egregiously higher, at 56% and 40%, respectively.

Overall, more than half of all adults in California reported physical or sexual partner violence (54%) against them in their lifetime. Women (54%), non-binary individuals (76%), and transgender individuals (83%) are more likely than men (38%) to have experienced this.

The CalVEX survey also collected data on mental health, and found that violence and mental health are strongly related.

Those who experienced physical violence in the past year were:

  • ·         More than twice as likely to report severe depression and/or anxiety symptoms (14% vs 6%)
  • ·         Four times more likely to report serious consideration of suicide (25% vs 6%)
  • ·         More than twice as likely to report recent substance misuse (67% vs 28%)

The survey was conducted online by NORC at the University of Chicago on behalf of University of California San Diego's Center on Gender Equity and Health (GEH) from March to May 2023. More information about the study is available at

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SOURCE The California Violence Experiences Study (CalVEX)

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