Raising the awareness of Domestic Abuse in the LGBT Community

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2012 National LGBT Conference
27 July 2012

Conference acknowledges the work that UNISON does to raise awareness of domestic abuse. UNISON published a model domestic violence and abuse policy in 2010 and works to ensure stewards and work place representatives understand that domestic abuse also has an impact on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, and that they know where to refer LGBT members for specialist support.

Domestic abuse within LGBT relationships remains under-recognised and under-acknowledged within the LGBT community, not to mention society at large.

In 2007, Brighton-based research project ‘Count Me In Too’ found that almost one third of LGBT respondents had experienced domestic abuse. By comparison, UNISON estimates that one in four heterosexual women had experienced domestic abuse. Similarly, Broken Rainbow research suggests that at least 1 in 4 lesbian, gay or bisexual people will experience domestic abuse, and that trans people’s experience of domestic abuse will be higher.

Domestic abuse knows no boundaries of gender, culture, class, age, sexual orientation, disability, ethnicity or belief. The mainstream organisations and services offered to LGBT victims remain hugely inadequate.

With few specialist refuges, LGBT people who are attempting to escape domestic abuse from same-sex partners often have nowhere to go. Lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women in mainstream refuges face possible revictimisation owing to homophobia/biphobia/transphobia. Other issues that LGBT victims of domestic violence may face include the perpetrator being placed in same refuge, scepticism or lack of support from police, or having to out themselves to statutory services.

Broken Rainbow UK is the National LGBT Domestic Violence Helpline providing confidential support to all members of the LGBT communities, their family and friends, and agencies supporting them. There are also local projects and services in some areas to support LGBT victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

However, at a time of funding and service cuts, services to support LGBT victims and survivors may be squeezed, just at a time when domestic abuse is on the increase.

Support organisations need UNISON LGBT group’s backing and we need to raise awareness of the issues and the assistance that is still available.

Conference therefore calls on the National LGBT Committee to work with regional groups where appropriate to:

1)Raise the awareness of the issues facing LGBT people who are victims of domestic abuse;

2)Work closely with Domestic Abuse organisations such as Broken Rainbow, to promote these services;

3)Provide links to these organisations on UNISON’s national and regional LGBT web pages;

4)Promote and encourage victims of domestic abuse to report any form of abuse to the police;

5)Have information on stalls at local and national events, such as Prides, regarding domestic abuse.

6)Campaign against cuts to these vital services