June is Pride Month, a month dedicated to celebrating LGBT+ communities all around the world. For that reason, we have created the campaign #MoreAndBetter. Over the next couple of weeks, we will present some statistics from Galop, the LGBT+ anti-violence charity in the UK, which only reinforce why we all need to do more and better to address Domestic and Sexual Violence and Abuse against LGBT+ people.
By sharing these findings, we are also aiming to show that healthcare settings may be the only opportunity for LGBT+ people to talk about their experiences and obtain the support needed.
A patient who feels properly seen and heard during consultations is much more likely to disclose whatever is happening when they are asked about Sexual Violence and/or Domestic Violence and Abuse. Here are 8 key findings from studies recently produced by Galop, the LGBT+ anti-violence charity in the UK.
- The vast majority of LGBT+ sexual violence survivors did not report to the police — only 12% had reported their most significant experience of sexual violence.
According to the “Navigating the Criminal Justice System & Support Services as an LGBT+ Survivor of Sexual Violence” study, there were multiple factors that deterred them from doing reporting their experiences, including being worried that the police would discriminate against them because of their LGBT+ identity (25%), fearing that they would not be taken seriously (51%) and thinking that the police would not be able to do anything (56%).
- LGBT+ survivors who did report their experiences to the police generally described poor experiences.
Same research shows that, of those surveyed who reported to the police, 45% were unsatisfied or very unsatisfied with the service they received compared to 22% who were satisfied or very satisfied. Only 22% were satisfied or very satisfied with the police’s understanding of their LGBT+ identity.
- LGBT+ people are subjected to a range of different types of sexual violence.
To produce the “LGBT+ People & Sexual Violence Report”, Galop asked over 1,000 LGBT+ people in the UK about their experiences of sexual violence. LGBT+ respondents were subjected to a range of different types of sexual violence. 53% felt that their LGBT+ identity was linked to, or the reason for, at least one instance of sexual violence they were subjected to. Around two thirds of 684 survey respondents experienced an increase in suicidal thoughts (67%) or self–harm (64%) following sexual violence.
- Sexual Violence affects LGBT+ people in long-lasting ways.
- Sexual violence was found to affect LGBT+ people in profound and long-lasting ways:
- 85% experienced negative impacts on their mental health;
- 77% experienced negative impacts on their intimate relationships;
- 67% had an increase in suicidal thoughts;
- And 64% increased self-harming.
The findings obtained by a Galop study underline the need for increased understanding of LGBT+ identities and experiences in statutory services such as the police. These services should be provided with training on LGBT+ identities, experiences of sexual violence and also appropriate referral pathways to ensure that all LGBT+ victims and survivors of sexual violence are offered support that meets their needs.
In this context, the interventions delivered by IRISi, such as IRIS and ADViSE, could bring a positive change in the way healthcare settings deal with sexual violence among LGBT+ people. IRIS is a specialist domestic violence and abuse (DVA) training, support and referral programme for General Practices, while the ADViSE programme supports sexual health clinicians to identify and respond to patients affected by DVA and Sexual Violence, also providing them with a simple referral pathway to specialist services.
- Almost one third of LGBT+ people have experienced abuse from a family member.
To produce the study “LGBT+ Experiences of Abuse from Family Members”, Galop asked 5,000 LGBT+ people if they had experienced abuse from a family members or members. 29% said yes. 43% Trans and non-binary people surveyed had experienced higher levels of abuse from a family member or members. 5% of LGBT+ respondents had been subjected to so-called ‘conversion therapy’ through a family member attempting to change, ‘cure’ or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity.
- Parents are usually the most common perpetrator of abuse against LGBT+ people.
The most common perpetrators of abuse against the LGBT+ people surveyed were parents – mothers (45%) and fathers (41%). 21% of the familial abuse victims surveyed had never told anyone about their experience. The impact of familial abuse is substantial – 92% of respondents told us that it had a negative impact on them.
Galop also asked respondents who had experienced abuse from their families what support, if any, they had accessed, and whether it was beneficial. If they had not accessed support, respondents were asked whether they think would have been beneficial had they accessed it. There were 1,493 responses.
- Only 11% had accessed advocacy, but a further 42% think doing so would have been beneficial.
- 13% had used formal advice and information e.g. a helpline and found it useful. A further 38% think that would be helpful.
- 10% accessed practical assistance and found it beneficial, while a further 40% who had not accessed it think it would have been beneficial.
- 40% had accessed therapeutic services and found them beneficial. A further 24% had not accessed therapeutic services but thought they would have been beneficial.
- There are a small number of LGBT+ domestic abuse services in England and Wales.
Key findings in Galop 2021 mapping study of LGBT+ domestic abuse services in England and Wales found that there are a small number of LGBT+ domestic abuse services; most are victim support services based in London. It also shows that LGBT+ domestic abuse support is largely provided by LGBT+ ‘by and for’ organisations with a domestic abuse service. On a lesser scale, LGBT+ specialist support also exists within VAWG and generic domestic abuse organisations.
- Some areas of England and Wales don’t even have any domestic abuse services.
No funded LGBT+ ‘by and for’ domestic abuse services exist in the Southwest and Northeast of England, or in Wales. There are no LGBT+ specific services for LGB+ and or T+ perpetrators and/or perpetrator programmes. There is also a lack of emergency accommodation/ housing services for LGB+ and/or T+ people, in particular, GB+ and/or T+ men. Furthermore, there is a lack of service provision for LGB+ and or T+ children and young people outside of London.