Victims of domestic abuse in same-sex relationships need support from workers with an understanding of the complex issues involved if they are to get adequate help, an LGBT charity claim.
The Lesbian and Gay Foundation also backed calls from a Manchester City Council report to improve services available to victims of domestic abuse in same-sex relationships.
A report from the council’s Communities Scrutiny Committee revealed a lack of recognition of domestic violence in LGBT relationships and a gap in services.
Lucy Rolfe, Wellbeing Manager of The Lesbian and Gay Foundation, explained that it’s important people have ‘choice’.
She said: “We always recognise that we cannot provide absolutely everything that LGB&T people might need in their lifetime and it’s important that if someone accesses a mainstream service then they also get a really good quality service and an appropriate level of support from someone who’s got an understanding of what kind issues they might be experiencing.
“For example for someone who’s in a same sex relationship who’s experiencing domestic abuse, the abusive partner might use outing them as a way of controlling them and as a way of keeping them isolated from other people so it’s important that mainstream services have got an understanding that that can be a really big issue to some people.”
Watch MM’s Dan Holland chat to Lucy Rolfe below (additional filming by Nick Hughes):
The report, released last month, says that those consulted were keen to explore LGBT inclusion within mainstream domestic abuse services as well as the introduction of specific same-sex services.
Ms Rolfe added: “We get a lot of people who come here because when they come through the front door for them it’s almost like coming out already, they don’t then have to explain their sexual orientation to anyone.
“One of the ways in which perpetrators of abuse exert power and control over someone is to isolate them, so they might become disconnected from friends and family. So it could be that they literally have not got anyone who they can go and talk to, who they trust.”
A report constructed by the charity CAADA (Co-ordinated Action Against Domestic Abuse) last year revealed that the prevalence of domestic abuse in lesbians and gay relationships is about the same as experienced by heterosexual women.
For LGBT abuse victims, support is available at Broken Rainbow on 0300 999 5428. The Men’s Advice Line, 0808 801 0327, offers help for men of any sexuality suffering from abuse. The National Domestic Violence Helpline can be called on 0808 2000 247.
Main image courtesy of Anthony Kelly, with thanks.