Domestic Violence in the LGBT Community

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2006 National LGBT Conference
28 July 2006
Carried as Amended

The media constantly portrays domestic violence as a heterosexual experience. Literature uses male pronouns to describe batterers and female pronouns to describe victims. The terms ‘domestic violence’ and ‘violence against women’ have become interchangeable. As a result, people who interact with victims frequently are unaware of the existence of domestic violence in the LGBT community.

The LGBT community also fails to recognise same-sex domestic violence. LGBT people are subjected to the same gender-stereotypical messages about domestic violence and, consequently, have difficulty identifying themselves as victims.

Without education, many LGBT community members may stay in dangerous or life-threatening situations due to the inability to label their experience as domestic violence. Not until it is labeled will they seek to access the help and information they need. For this reason, professionals who interact with victims need to be aware of the reality of domestic violence within the LGBT community. They should also be prepared to do additional outreach and provide education to help the LGBT clients they may encounter to identify domestic violence.

Conference believes that institutional racism impacts on the delivery of domestic violence and abuse services to people within the Black and minority ethnic (BME) LGBT community. Such service provision for Black LGBT people needs to be better resourced and delivered, including by the police and other statutory and voluntary agencies.

Broken Rainbow LGBT Domestic Violence Service (UK) defines domestic violence and abuse as

“Any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.” An adult is defined as any person aged 18 years or over. Family members are defined as mother, father, son, daughter, brother, sister, and grandparents, whether directly related, in laws or stepfamily. Broken Rainbow works with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals and the community to reduce the prevalence of homophobic, biphobic, transphobic and same sex domestic violence.

Conference commends such work undertaken within the LGBT community voluntary sector but is alarmed at the under funding from central government. Such organisations often survive on voluntary effort and charitable donations. Conference recommends that LGBT activists work in conjunction with our colleagues in the community voluntary sector in lobbying central government for appropriate full cost recovery funding for organisations supporting the social needs within our community.