It is thought that about 25% of lesbian and bisexual women have experienced domestic abuse in a relationship.
In another study, 80% of transgender victims were found to have experienced domestic abuse.
As in all cases of domestic abuse, the problem is often under reported, with recent research suggesting that rates of under-reporting within the LGBTQ+ population are between anything from 60 to 80 percent.
Here, PC Stuart Henderson who is the force Hate Crime Coordinator and LGBTQ+ Network Co-Chair has shared the signs to look out for within LGBTQ+ domestic abuse and why it is so important that victims know they are not alone.
“Domestic and interfamilial abuse is significantly under-reported in the LGBTQ+ community and it is our aim to not only encourage more victims to come forward,
“But we want to go beyond that and raise awareness of this type of abuse within the LGBTQ+ community and improve the services to individuals.
“Throughout the COVID19 pandemic we know that cases of domestic abuse have increased, but we also know that interfamilial abuse has increased too with many LGBTQ+ people having to move back in with family who don’t accept them for who they are.
“Many victims are suffering in silence and we want them to know that we, and the many charities and support agencies that we work with, can provide non-judgmental support and help give them a voice.
“There are many similarities between LGBTQ+ people’s experiences of domestic abuse and that of heterosexual peers.
“The abuse can be physical, emotional, sexual or financial,
“However LGBTQ+ people may also have their sexuality and gender identity used against them as a tactic for the abuser to keep the power and control in the relationship.
“You may find an abuser may intimidate you and threaten to disclose your sexual orientation or gender identity to others.
“Or they may disclose your gender history, sexual orientation or HIV status without consent.
“Abusers can limit or control your access to LGBT+ spaces or resources.
“They may try to isolate you from friends and family.
“But help is on hand and you are not alone.
“A lot of work is under way nationally to better understand the needs of the LGBTQ+ community and listen to how we can further support victims of domestic abuse.
“We all have a part to play in protecting vulnerable victims and it is important that we all do what we can to support each other.
“Everyone deserves a life free from abuse and violence.”
PC Henderson’s messages comes as police forces across the country show their support today (28 May) for LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Awareness Day which has been launched by colleagues at Northumbria Police.
The day aims to raise the awareness of domestic abuse in LGBTQ+ communities and encourage victims to come forward.
And it delivers a very clear message – ‘There’s no pride in domestic abuse’.
If you are hurt, controlled or abused by someone you love, please call 101.
Alternatively, IDAS (Independent Domestic Abuse Services) can help. They are there for anyone who is experiencing domestic abuse, providing free, confidential advice and support and access to emergency accommodation.
Always dial 999 in an emergency.
- Research: Domestic Abuse in LGBT Communities – KSS CRC
- How COVID-19 is affecting LGBT communities (stonewall.org.uk)