Domestic violence and same-sex violence

There is a significant amount of research that discusses domestic violence between men and women. There is significant recognition that domestic violence occurs in a context in which a man is violent towards a woman.

Increasing research however demonstrates that partner abuse is as common and as severe among same sex couples as among heterosexual couples. There is, however, a general lack of recognition that same sex domestic violence can occur.  For example, same sex domestic violence is rarely acknowledged in the LGB community, social policy makers, lawyers, or health care practitioners. This lack of visibility makes it difficult for LGB people to report incidents of domestic violence or feel protected by structures that exist to protect people from domestic violence. Those who want to assist LGB people also struggle to find resources to help them do so, though it is encouraging that same-sex domestic violence is recognised in law since 2003.

LGB people are less likely to tell a health care practitioner that they are experiencing domestic violence if they do not feel able to disclose their sexual orientation to them. Research indicates that LGB people are reluctant to disclose their sexual orientation to their GP because they think they will experience discrimination. They might also be reluctant to demonstrate a problem within a relationship, especially if they think that the health care practitioner thinks gay relationships are generally unstable or unsustainable. LGB people may not want to perpetuate that view by admitting domestic violence.


  • Broken Rainbow Conference Report C Jones (2002)
  • Homophobic Crime and Same-Sex Domestic Abuse D Collins, M Vallely (2001)
  • Domestic Violence within Lesbian Relationships K Townley (2001)
  • At the End of the Rainbow: A Report on Gay Male Domestic Violence and Abuse M Lehman (1997)
  • Same-Sex Domestic Violence: Strategies for Change S Lundy, B Leventhal (1999)
  • Lesbian, Gay Male, Bisexual and Transgendered Elders: Elder Abuse and Neglect Issues L Cook-Daniels (2002)
  • Hold Tight, Tight Hold: A Project on Same-Sex Domestic Abuse: Same Sex Domestic Abuse - A New Approach D Shelley (2002)
  • Violence & Abuse in Same-Sex Relationships: A Review of Literature A Richards, N Noret, I Rivers (2003)
  • Hate crimes in Scotland: A summary of results from the Equality Network postcard and email survey on hate crimes  Equality Network (2004)
  • Gay identity, interpersonal violence, and HIV risk behaviors: an empirical test of theoretical relationships among a probability-based sample of urban men who have sex with men M Relf, B Huang, J Campbell,Catania, J (2004)
  • Violence and social injustice against lesbian, gay and bisexual people L Sloan, N Gustavsson (1998)
  • Domestic Abuse against Men in Scotland  D Gadd, S Farrall, D Dallimore,Lombard, N (2002)
  • Domestic Partner Abuse. L Kevin Hamberger, Claire Renzetti. (1999)
  • Loving in Fear: lesbian and gay survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Queer Press Collective. (1993)
  • Men who beat men who love them: battered gay men and domestic violence. David Island. (1995)
  • Naming the violence: speaking out against lesbian battering. National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Lesbian Task Force (1989)
  • No more secrets: violence in lesbian relationships. Janice Ristock. (2002)
  • Patterns of sexual violence among men. P.M. Davies (1998)
  • Professional’s guide to understanding gay and lesbian domestic violence: understanding practice interventions. J C. McClennen and J Gunther (2000)
  • Violent Betrayal: partner abuse in lesbian relationships. C M. Renzetti. (1993)


domestic violence

Domestic violence in same sex relationships is invisible and hard to name it as such as it doesnt fit easily into the model of male violence against women. Broken Rainbow's free Helpline supports people affected by DV, and gives guidance to professionals too on this area.

sarah, 18 December 2009

domestic violence

my son and i went through domestic abuse and i found that nobody would believe me when i tried to get help. i spent a lot of time helping my son who seems fine now. i'm still trying to deal with it on my own. i'm very isolated because i moved to be with my ex partner and my family live hundred of miles away and the only people i was allowed to mix with were my ex's friends.

rachel, 06 August 2009

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