A charity has found that LGBT (lesbian. gay, bisexual and transgender) people in relationships with partners of the same sex are more than twice as likely to have suffered domestic abuse in the last year as compared to those in opposite sex relationships.
The charity Broken Rainbow reports that nearly half (45 per cent) of gay and lesbian respondents to a survey in 2013 said they had not reported domestic violence because they thought they would not be taken seriously.
Broken Rainbow is the only UK charity providing support exclusively for LGBT sufferers of domestic abuse and violence. The organisation, which has been operating for ten years, is currently in a month long drive to raise awareness of what is a growing problem.
Broken Rainbow interim Managing Director Jo Harvey Barringer stated: ‘Over the past 10 years Broken Rainbow has received more than 25,000 calls from members of the LGBT community in distress, with the number of calls continuing to have an upward trend.’
Liberal Democrat peer Lord Brian Paddick spoke out on his own abuse in response to the findings: ‘I didn’t go to the police because I didn’t want to be open about my sexuality and the type of relationship I was in. I was too embarrassed.
‘We need to be more open about this so that people in abusive relationships realise they are not alone.’
In support of the campaign, he added, ‘There is little the police can do to combat emotional abuse. Broken Rainbow’s helpline offers a place where those who feel they have no where to turn can confide and find support.’
Supporters of the campaign and the charity note that domestic violence among LGBT people is not discussed or recognised nearly enough.
There also exist stereotypes and a widespread lack of understanding of same-sex relationships which deter victims from reaching out for help.
Speaking to the publication The Gay UK, Kieron Richardson offered his views as an actor who portrayed a gay character in Hollyoaks who suffered from abuse in his relationship.
Richardson said, ‘It’s extremely important to recognise charities, such as Broken Rainbow UK, that highlight domestic abuse in an LGBT relationship. Much has been mentioned in the news and popular culture on domestic abuse but it needs to be clearer that it occurs in ALL relationships no matter what gender.’
It may be too early to say what effect, if any, the legalisation of same sex marriages earlier this year will have on the incidence of domestic abuse to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.