The legal system is an important tool in your safety planning, whether you’re straight or LGBTQ. It may seem overwhelming, but it's important to know your rights and how the system works. Remember, even if you’re under 18 or feel like you can’t tell anyone about the abuse, you still have the right to confidential legal assistance and protection.
If you’re LBGTQ and experiencing abuse, know this:
- You can tell someone about the abuse if you choose. Some adults are required by law to report the abuse to authorities if you're a minor, but they can still help protect your rights and discuss your options.
- You have the right to be safe when on school grounds.
- You have the right to call the police if you’re in danger.
- You have the right to receive a protection order in most states.
- You have the right to seek custody of your child or visitation rights. A parent’s sexual orientation is irrelevant to custody and visitation unless the parent’s actions are directly harming the child.
- You may be eligible for a U-Visa if you're the victim of a crime and willing to cooperate with the police and prosecution.
- You may have the right to take time off from work to attend court hearings.