Transgender People, Victimisation and Criminology: Where is the research?

We are in the midst of ever increasing anti-transgender political lobbying which regularly positions transgender people as a dangerous and potentially criminal population. These arguments, put forward by anti-transgender activists from the Left and the Right, have gained increasing mainstream media presence in Australia in the last year.

In the face of these views, I ask ‘where is the criminological research?’ on transgender people.

The fact that transgender people are far more likely to be victims of violence rather than perpetrators has been hidden in aggregated crime data and analysis based in gender binaries. To date queer, feminist, and mainstream criminology has little engaged with incidence, analysis or prevention of crime issues that concern transgender people, with the most extensive research found in public health surveys rather than criminal justice reporting.

In this presentation I draw upon a meta-analysis of international evidence about transgender people, victimisation and criminal justice to show that criminologists have an obligation to take seriously transgender people’s needs and vulnerabilities in the criminal justice system, and must resolve the data collection and reporting issues in order to adequately counter the claims made by anti-transgender groups.

Dr Andy Kaladelfos is Lecturer in Criminology and Deputy Postgraduate Coordinator at the UNSW School of Social Sciences. Andy’s research specialities are sexual and gender-based violence, queer criminology, immigration regulation, and homophobic and transphobic violence. Andy is the co-author of Sex Crimes in the Fifties and co-editor of The Sexual Abuse of Children, and leads the ARC Discovery Project (2019-2024) ‘Australian Violence: Understanding Victimisation in History’. Andy is a proud transmasculine, non-binary and queer person who uses They/Them pronouns.



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