June is Pride Month, a month dedicated to celebrating the LGBTQ+ communities all around the world. For that reason, we, from IRISi, have created the campaign “FIND YOUR WAY TO ASK”. We want to help to change a paradigm among healthcare professionals. We want to show why it is so important to know how to ask all patients about domestic violence and abuse (DVA) and our focus here is on how to ask about gender identity and sexuality.
There is a clear relationship between sexual orientation, gender identity and DVA. This means that LGBTQ+ people are suffering from specific impacts on their mental, physical, and sexual health. If you work within the healthcare sector, there is a way of improving your ability to recognise and respond to this: if you learn your own way to ask and approach it.
A patient who feels properly seen and heard during consultations is much more likely to disclose whatever is happening for them when they are asked about DVA. For that reason, we worked in partnership with Galop, the LGBT+ anti-violence charity in the UK, to provide key information to strengthen advocacy for LGBT+ survivors.
Here are six key findings from “Recognise & Respond: Strengthening Advocacy for LGBT+ Survivors of Domestic Abuse Relating to LGBT+ Survivors”, a document produced by Galop.
01 – #FindYourWayToAsk: What we know about prevalence
- 1. More than one in four gay men and lesbian women and more than one in three bisexual people report at least one form of domestic abuse since the age of 16.
- 2. Lesbian women report similar rates of domestic abuse to that of heterosexual women.
- 3. Bisexual women are twice as likely to disclose intimate partner violence compared to heterosexual women.
- 4. Gay and bisexual men might be twice as likely to experience domestic abuse compared to heterosexual men.
- 5. Prevalence rates of domestic abuse may be higher for transgender people than any other section of the population.
02 – #FindYourWayToAsk: What we know about the nature of abuse
- 1. Though LGBT+ survivors share similar forms of domestic abuse as their heterosexual peers, LGBT+ people’s experiences of abuse are also frequently linked to their sexual orientation and gender identity.
- 2. Experiences of abuse may include physical, sexual, emotional and financial abuse, forced marriage, so-called ‘honour’-based violence and other forms of violence and abuse that sit within the framework of gender-based violence.
- 3. LGBT+ survivors are not a homogenous group. Experiences of abuse can differ across and between identities.
03 – #FindYourWayToAsk: What we know about the barriers in access to services
- 1. LGBT+ survivors face distinct systemic and personal barriers in accessing services, related to their sexual orientation and gender identity.
- 2. LGBT+ domestic abuse appears vastly underreported.
- 3. LGBT+ survivors are disproportionately underrepresented in voluntary and statutory services, including criminal justice services.
04 – #FindYourWayToAsk: What we know about the specialist DA services for LGBT+
- 1. To meet the multiple and complex needs of LGBT+ survivors, LGBT+ specialist services provide a broad range of services and often work outside of their geographical remit and beyond their capacity.
- 2. LGBT+ specialist services often work on many intersecting social issues and frequently support public, private and voluntary sector bodies and inform policy agendas.
- 3. LGBT+ specialist services and programs may be delivered by LGBT+ organisations, domestic abuse services, or have been set up within a specific partnership, consortium or network.
05 – #FindYourWayToAsk: How the specialist DA services for LGBT+ are coping
- 1. LGBT+ specialist domestic abuse services are largely unavailable within many local authority areas in England and Wales. By end of June 2019 there were six voluntary sector providers delivering LGBT+ specialist services based in Birmingham, Brighton & Hove, London and Manchester.
- 2. LGBT+ specialist Independent Domestic Violence Advisors are hosted by four services, Galop, Birmingham LGBT, Independent Choices Greater Manchester, and RISE.
- 3. There are limited refuge options for LGBT+ people and housing providers do not always recognise that they have a duty towards LGBT+ survivors. Gay, bisexual and trans men are particularly affected by this.
06 – #FindYourWayToAsk: Specialist DA services for LGBT+ main goals
- 1. Where integrated into a domestic abuse service, LGBT+ specialist programmes can have positive impact on services as well as survivors.
- 2. Despite a demonstrated need for specialist services, funding and commissioning remain major challenges.