Incident Reporting & Response - 2014 Report
By Susan Wright
NCSF’s Incident Reporting & Response helps people who are being discriminated against because they are kinky and/or nonmonogamous: 184 requests for help were received in 2014. One-fourth of the cases evolved into weeks- or months-long projects, requiring the education of a number of legal, medical and mental health professionals about kink. Other professionals who requested information or resources to better serve kinky people included: academics, social services, vanilla nonprofit organizations & events, authors, merchant services, and insurance brokers.
The drop in IRR requests can be partly attributed to the increased page views on NCSF’s Kink Aware Professionals database, with over 1,200 kinky people directly accessing KAP in 2014 to find a lawyer, therapist or other professional rather than asking NCSF for help through Incident Reporting & Response. Recognizing the need for more professionals to be listed in KAP, in 2014 NCSF joined forces with GayLawNet, a free referral database of gay-friendly attorneys. GayLawNet also began offering a Kink Aware Professional category for their lawyers to self-identify as kink aware.
Of the 184 requests for assistance, the majority dealt with BDSM while only 6 involved polyamory/swing issues:
73 criminal issues
33 child custody
26 requests for info from professionals
20 kink group issues
10 discrimination issues
5 job discrimination
6 media related incidents
4 civil law issues
The 73 requests that involved criminal issues typically took the most time and effort to help resolve, including finding kink-aware legal representation and educating relevant professionals to remove kink as a barrier to services. The requests break down as follows:
42 – assistance with victim services, reporting an assault, sexual assault, blackmail or stalking to the police, and obtaining restraining orders
13 – referrals for kink-aware defense attorneys
6 – assisting sex workers who were arrested
6 – assisting people in dealing with: probation, sex offenders, sex traffickers
5 – research on state criminal laws and contracts
In 2014, there was a significant drop in requests for help with child custody/divorce issues. That is due to the change in the DSM-5 criteria, which made it clear that people who are kinky are not mentally ill:
2014 – 37 people
2013 – * see note
2012 – 87 people
2011 – 115 people
2010 – 125 people
2009 – 132 people
An even bigger change due to the DSM-5 can be found in the percentage of kinky parents who now retain child custody. More kinky parents who come to NCSF for help are successful in removing kink as an issue in family court and with social service workers and Child Protective Services. Of the 33 cases, 3 are still ongoing, but of those that assigned custody:
2014 – 89% (27 out of 30 parents) custody was not removed because of kink.
2012 – 53% (41 out of 77 parents) custody was not removed because of kink.
2011 – 23% (23 out of 101 parents) custody was not removed because of kink.
2010 – 12% (13 out of 109 parents) custody was not removed because of kink.
There was also a drop in the number of requests from BDSM, swing and polyamory educational and social groups. Most people are now aware that they need to get professional advice in setting up their clubs and association papers, and it is common knowledge how to produce an event legally. As a result, NCSF received fewer requests for establishing a nonprofit or dealing with zoning laws, and instead primarily assisted groups in handling adversarial members, liability issues, doing outreach to local law enforcement, and handling media incidents. NCSF helped 20 kink groups in 2014 vs. 77 in 2012.
Requests for help with swing and polyamory issues dropped to less than 3% of the total requests in 2014 compared to nearly 9% in 2012 and nearly 5% in 2011. There has been a significant drop in the number of house parties as Lifestyle events have shifted toward a business model that uses club venues, cruise ships and hotels. This means fewer busted house parties, and less need for NCSF services.
The decline in discrimination against nonmonogamists may also be due in part to the success of gay marriage. The mainstream media covers relationship issues like nonmonogamy much more positively than it did five years ago. According to the NCSF Media Updates, of the articles that involved nonmonogamy as a subject:
2014 – 53 articles: 77% were positive and 23% were negative.
2013 – 42 articles: 81% were positive and 19% were negative.
2012 – 21 articles: 62% were positive and 38% were negative.
2011 – 33 articles: 30% were positive and 70% were negative.
2010 – 50 articles: 16% were positive and 84% were negative.
* Note: From 2002-2011, NCSF’s Incident Reporting & Response received over 500 requests every year. In 2012, that number dropped to 474, likely due to the change in the DSM-5 and an increased use of KAP. The IRR data for 2013 was destroyed by Leigha Fleming when she deleted her emails and documentation from the NCSF server. Some people have reported receiving no response last year, and that may have contributed to fewer people coming to NCSF this year. Susan Wright took over as director of IRR in January, 2014.