LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
25% of the LGBTQ+ community are, or have been in, relationships that include violent or threatening behaviour. This is the same rate of abuse against heterosexual women in comparison to LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.
The problem is often under reported, as those are who are seeking help are often afraid of disclosing their sexual orientation, or the nature of the relationship they are in.
The types of abuse experienced can include emotional bullying, physical aggression, threats that will bring harm to a friend or family member, being isolated from social interaction, control of finances, jealousy as well as the lasting impact on the abused partner. Some aspects of abuse are unique to LGBTQ+ relationships.
As a method of control, the perpetrator may threaten to ‘out’ the victim to friends, families, co-workers and religious communities. As there is a lack of support for the LGBTQ+ community, the abuser may use this to control and force their partner to comply with their behaviour.
Orientation and Gender Focused Abuse:
Perpetrators may use their partner’s sexual orientation or gender identity to abuse, or make their partner believe their feelings are linked to them being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. This can be a result of the perpetrator’s personal insecurity, low self-esteem in their sexual orientation or gender identity. This situation can be allowing internalised feelings of homo/bi/transphobia to develop in the victim.
Domestic violence or sexual assault in LGBTQ+:
Information and help is often reduced for the LGBTQ+ communities in relation to domestic violence and sexual abuse. As there is a larger emphasis on heterosexual relationships, the greater public’s understanding may believe this is not an issue within LGBTQ+ relationships. The level of support may not be there as the victim’s experience may not be recognised as domestic violence.
Isolation from the Community:
The foundations of the LGBTQ+ communities rely solely on the close network and friendships that are formed within. An abusive partner may want to prevent their partner from any contact to the community which adds difficulty to the victim finding help.
Prevention to accessing the community could be stopping their partner attending LGBTQ+ venues, reading LGBTQ+ publications and stopping contact with friends within the community. For many who are in their first same-sex relationship may find it difficult as this could be their first exposure the LGBTQ+ community.
Revealing your sexuality or identity to police or specialist services may be difficult for some victims so they remain silent for fear of homo/bi/transphobia. Victims may believe this will contribute to a negative opinion on the LGBT community that could cause stereotypes.
You can use the How to Help postcards to start a conversation and learn more about how you can help an LGBTQ+ victim of domestic violence or sexual assault.
Myths about LGBTQ+ and Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault
“The law does not protect LGBTQ+ people.”
“An incident between LGBTQ+ relationships cannot be about power and control and therefore mutual.”
“Stereotypical gender roles are applied to the relationship when violence is a factor.”
“Leaving an LGBTQ+ relationship is easy because children cannot be a factor and each partner is financially independent.”
The above statements are of course all untrue – common myths which have been perpetuated in society. It is important to know that you are not alone, what is happening is NOT your fault, and that support is out there for you.
If you are worried that you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, get in touch with Galop, who run the National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans* (LGBT) Domestic Violence Helpline.
Galop – the UK’s leading LGBT anti-violence charity who for 34 years has offered advice and support to people who have experienced biphobia, homophobia, transphobia, sexual violence or domestic abuse.
You can call the helpline at 0300 999 5428 or 0800 9995428.
10am – 8pm Monday
10am – 5pm Tuesday
10am – 5pm Wednesday
10am – 8pm Thursday
1pm – 5pm Friday
(1pm – 5pm Tuesday is trans specific service).
You can also check out these resources from Barking & Dagenhem PCT:
You can find further support resources over on our Get Help page, including specific domestic violence and sexual assault services for women, men, and those experiencing honour-based abuse and forced marriage.
If you are in immediate danger, call 999.