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2013 National LGBT Conference
1 August 2013
Carried as Amended

Conference notes:

1. The majority of domestic abuse is perpetrated by men against women. According to data in the 2011/12 Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW), 31% of women and 18% of men had experienced any domestic abuse since the age of 16;

2. Women are far more likely to be victims of sexual abuse than men. The 2011/12 CSEW found that 19.6% of women, and 2.7% of men had experienced sexual assault since the age of 16. For women who had been victims of serious sexual assault since they were 16, the most common perpetrator was a partner or ex-partner (52%);

3. Domestic violence also takes place within same gender relationships. It is difficult to know the full extent of domestic violence in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities, since official statistical data is not yet available in the UK. However recent research indicates that 37% of same sex relationships have featured violence;

4. UNISON recognises that domestic abuse is a trade union issue, and that UNISON has produced a model agreement for branches to negotiate with employers.

Conference believes that domestic abuse poses particular challenges within lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities and also impacts differentially upon men and women, including within LGBT communities. For example, Women’s Aid point out, in advice to lesbian and bisexual women in their “Survivors Handbook” that “as well as all the forms of domestic violence and abuse experienced by heterosexual women, if you are a lesbian or a bisexual woman, your abuser might also do some of the following:

A. Undermine your sexual orientation;

B. Threaten to ‘out’ you to family members, colleagues, employers or others;

C. Prevent or try to prevent you from coming out if you want to. Force you to ‘act straight’;

D. Threaten to use the issue of your sexual orientation against you in court, when issues relating to your children (for example, residence or contact) are being decided;

E. Force you to look for a ‘cure’ for your sexual orientation from a religious or medical practitioner.

Research found that gay and bisexual men are more likely to be victims than heterosexual men. This crime in our community has more repeat victims than any other crime. 78% of gay and bisexual men do not report incidents and 56% of those who do were unhappy with how the matter was dealt with by the authorities. Conference welcomes the decision of Trades Union Congress (TUC) LGBT Conference to establish links with the LGBT domestic violence organisation Broken Rainbow and to promote their campaigns which aim to confront and eliminate domestic violence within LGBT communities.

Conference calls upon the National LGBT Committee to respond positively to this initiative from the TUC. Conference acknowledges that domestic violence in LGBT communities takes place in a social context marked by the particular nature and prevalence of male violence against women.

Conference instructs the National LGBT Committee to work with the National Women’s Committee to help develop UNISON policy on the basis of this motion.