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2010 National LGBT Conference
27 July 2010
Carried as Amended

Domestic abuse knows no boundaries of gender, culture, class, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity or belief. A recent survey showed that 40.1% of the women surveyed and 35.2% of the men had experienced same sex domestic abuse with even more experiencing sexual abuse. The survey showed that there were still barriers to recognising domestic abuse in same sex relationships and barriers to reporting domestic abuse in same sex relationships. First same sex relationships were at a higher risk of domestic abuse and often sexuality was used as a tool of control. Some young people reported that they had no expectations of their first relationship and that there was no or little cultural representation of positive ordinary same sex relationships

Few people in same sex relationships, who are experiencing abuse in their relationship, seek counselling or legal/medical services. It seems even fewer turn to police, shelters, or distress lines, believing social service workers, health care officials, and police lack specialist knowledge in order to address the issue properly and appropriately. Some also felt that they wouldn’t get a sympathetic response when reporting domestic abuse due to perceived inherent feelings of homophobia. Some felt that services didn’t see their plight as being as serious as “straight” domestic abuse.

There is also a large gap in specialist service provision for LGBT people, which in turn perpetuates the likelihood of LGBT people remaining isolated, and lacking access to support, advocacy or information.

Conference is concerned that there is a lack of services available that are set up to LGBT people seeking support.

Conference calls on the National LGBT Committee to campaign for:

1.Increased awareness of the issues facing LGBT people who are victims of domestic abuse;

2.Increased awareness in the criminal justice system and amongst domestic abuse services about same sex domestic abuse in an attempt to address the gap of trust and to encourage reporting of incidents of domestic abuse;

3.The promotion of the existence of Broken Rainbow and other LGBT domestic abuse services;

4.A more positive portrayal of LGBT relationships in the media;

5.To ensure any UNISON domestic abuse training includes an element of LGBT domestic abuse.