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Home  »   LGBT+Latest News   »   Domestic violence in the LGBT+ community

Domestic violence in the LGBT+ community

In the second instalment of the PDA series to raise awareness of the '16 days of Action Against Domestic Violence' campaign, Scott Rutherford, President of the LGBT+ Network explains that some people within society are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse than others.

Tue 30th November 2021 The PDA

Whilst domestic abuse and violence are not isolated to certain groups within society, some people are more likely to be victims of domestic abuse than others.

With a high prevalence of domestic abuse, low levels of reporting, and high levels of self-harm after experiencing abuse, people belonging to the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender +, or LGBT+ (where the ‘+’ denotes a range of other less common sexual orientations and gender identities), community are at a high risk of, and from, domestic abuse.

It is not only the prevalence of domestic abuse which is disparate but also the types of abuse. LGBT+ people may be emotionally, physically, or sexually abused by family members in attempts to change their identity. Intimate partners may threaten to ‘out’ their victim, or use their sexuality or gender identity to shame them. Forced marriage may be used as a method of suppressing a person’s sexual orientation. LGBT+ survivors of domestic abuse are also more likely to experience domestic abuse on a number of occasions throughout their lives.

In a world where LGBT+ people face discrimination in multiple aspects of their lives, their home lives are no exception. Considering the fear of discrimination many LGBT+ people possess with regards to accessing services, it is key that healthcare staff are visibly LGBT+ friendly and aware of LGBT+ specific services to which they can signpost patients. For example, galop is the UK’s leading charity providing support to LGBT+ people experiencing abuse, including domestic abuse and hate crime.

A member of the LGBT+ Network anonymously shared the following story:

“When I was a pre-reg, we had a woman come into the pharmacy who said she wanted to speak to the pharmacist. After speaking to her in the consultation room, she divulged to the pharmacist that she was a victim of domestic violence. She had escaped her abuser on the premise of coming to the pharmacy to pick up his medication. Thankfully we were able to contact the authorities and get her somewhere safe.

Initially, there was some confusion as to what she needed. We had two pharmacists working that day and my male colleague did not feel comfortable discussing these issues with the patient. Thankfully the female pharmacist was able to comfort the woman and we kept her safe in the pharmacy until the police arrived. The Ask for ANI campaign would’ve helped this woman to get help quicker and would’ve improved my co-worker’s response to the situation, giving him more training to deal with future issues.

Written by Scott Rutherford, President of the PDA LGBT+ Network

The 16 days of Action Against Domestic Violence campaign is running from 25 November to 10 December.

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