As Chief Executive of the national domestic abuse charity SafeLives, I’m proud and delighted to be working in partnership with Stonewall as we launch our Spotlight on LGBT+ victims of domestic abuse.
We began our Spotlight series in 2016, because we wanted to shine a light on groups of people who have specific needs, or face additional barriers when accessing the help they need to become safe and well. Previously we’ve provided a platform for the voices of victims/survivors of domestic abuse who are over 60, those who are disabled, young people, victims of so-called ‘honour’-based violence, and victims/survivors who are experiencing homelessness. All of this work has been in partnership with specialist organisations who have so much expertise to share – and our upcoming Spotlight on LGBT+ victims and survivors is no exception.
There is no ‘typical’ victim – or perpetrator – of domestic abuse
In all our work we are guided by the evidence: research and data, practice expertise from those working to support survivors, and most importantly the lived experience of survivors and their loved ones. All this evidence tells us that there is no ‘typical’ victim – or perpetrator – of domestic abuse, and we need to challenge the misconception that this devastating crime only happens to one particular group. We believe that if you are experiencing domestic abuse, you deserve the right response at the right time, with the support you need to be safe and rebuild your life – whoever you are and whatever shape the abuse takes.
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, you deserve the right response at the right time
At SafeLives we hold the largest dataset on domestic abuse services and their clients in the UK. This data tells us that victims of domestic abuse who identify as LGBT+ face significant challenges. Compared with those who don’t identify as LGBT+:
- LGBT+ victims are almost twice as likely to have attempted suicide
- More than twice as likely to have self-harmed
- More likely to face abuse from multiple perpetrators
- Twice as likely to have experienced historic abuse from a family member
These statistics, combined with what we hear from survivors and the professionals who support them, paint a worrying picture. But we believe that by bringing together all of these voices, we can start to change things. We can give domestic abuse professionals the tools and confidence they need to improve the support they offer to LGBT+ clients. We can highlight the deeply concerning state of funding and resources for specialist services which are so crucial. We can amplify the voices of survivors, to change perceptions and empower communities to identify and challenge domestic abuse wherever it occurs.
We can amplify the voices of survivors, to change perceptions and empower communities
Domestic abuse is everyone’s business. It thrives behind closed doors, on shame and stigma. ‘Oh you can’t talk about that’. Well we are talking about it, and we won’t stop talking about it until we end domestic abuse for good – for everyone. We’d love for you to join us.
Visit our Spotlight page for blogs, podcasts, interviews, videos and more – new content every week from 5 March to 22 April.