Domestic abuse is any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality.
Research shows 1 in 4 LGBT people may experience domestic violence.
Domestic abuse can be:
• Physical – any behaviour that leads to physical injury such as spitting, punching, slapping
• Sexual – any unwanted sexual behaviour
• Psychological and/or emotional – using threats causing mental/emotional hurt. Humiliation. ‘Silent treatment’, threats to out you, put-downs around your sexuality and gender identity for trans people
• Financial – withholding money, using your money, coercion to borrow money, such as loans in your name and running up debts
• Forced marriage – may include all or some of the above ways to coerce, pressurize you into a marriage and deny your sexuality
If you are experiencing domestic violence or abuse, devising a safety plan will allow you to think about how you can improve your safety if and when further violence or abuse occurs. It won’t guarantee your safety, but could help improve it.
Your personal safety plan may include some of the following:
• If you or your family are in immediate danger, call the police on 999
• Tell someone you can trust what is happening, and think about setting up a password with either a friend, neighbour or family member that you can use to explain there is an emergency and you need help quickly
• Prepare a bag of clothes, medication and other essentials for yourself i.e. copies of driving licence, birth certificates, passports, benefit books or letters, important numbers, etc. Hide the bag somewhere safe
• If you have a car, make an extra set of keys and hide them where you can get to them if you need to
• Try to keep a small amount of money and your credit/debit cards on you at all times – including change for the phone and for bus fares
• If you think your partner is about to attack you, try to get to a safer place, such as rooms that have a way out and access to a telephone. Try to avoid rooms that have potential weapons in them, such as the kitchen or garage, and rooms like the bathroom where it is easier for them to trap you
• Keep any abusive letters, emails and text messages as evidence of abuse
• If your partner injures you go to a doctor or hospital for treatment so there is a record of the abuse
• If you are planning to leave your partner, think about how you can do this as safely as possible. Sometimes this can be the most dangerous time for you. If your partner knows you are planning to leave, they may become more violent and abusive
• Plan to leave at a time you know your partner will not be around
If you have already left the relationship and are still being harassed:
• Tell someone you can trust what is going on
• Try not to isolate yourself. Work out the safest routes to and from home and work and use them. If you can’t do this try to travel with someone else
• Make sure your home is safe. Think about getting your locks changed and make sure that all doors and windows are secure
This information is taken from Galop, an LGBT Domestic Violence Support Organisation.
You can get further support from the organisations listed here.