Recognise & Respond

Strengthening service and policy response to LGBT domestic abuse

Recognise & Respond will build on existing achievements and good practices tackling LGBT domestic abuse and will work closely with LGBT, DV and VAWG services, policy makers, commissioners, and other stakeholders to achieve the set aims and objectives.

The project is funded by the Lloyds Bank National Domestic Abuse Program and run in partnership with Stonewall Housing.

Background:

Prevalence of LGBT domestic violence:

Reports suggest the prevalence of intimate partnership abuse is similar between same-sex and opposite sex couples, occurring in approximately 25% to 38% of relationships (Donovan et. al, 2014). Stonewall’s research with lesbian women and gay men for instance, reports that 25 % of all respondents have experienced domestic violence in a relationship (Fish & Hunt, 2008) and that 49 % of gay and bisexual men have experienced at least one incident of domestic abuse from a family member or partner since the age of 16 (Guasp, 2011). Transgender individuals may be at even higher risk than their cisgender LGB peers as research published by the Scottish Transgender Alliance (Roch et. al, 2010) demonstrates up to 80% of trans participants had experienced domestic abuse from a partner.

Perception of domestic violence

Domestic violence is often understood as male violence against women. Gendered framework however has significant implications for research, policy, and practice. National statistics on intimate personal violence and partner abuse (ONS, 2016), for instance, only feature data disaggregated by gender and not by sexual orientation or gender identity. Whilst the language used in the UK legislation is often neutral, the wording ‘Violence Against Women and Girls’ is frequently used in reports and documents, such as the 2016 – 2020 Home Office Violence Against Women and Girls Strategy. This undermines the experiences of gay/bi men and transgender victims and survivors and might imply that women can’t be perpetrators of domestic violence. This has significant implications on service provision, as it creates barriers in the way services are designed and delivered that might make them less inclusive and accessible for LGBT people.

Barriers in accessing services:

Studies suggest that some lesbian or bisexual women survivors were denied help due to services interpreting violence between two women as ‘a fair fight’ or not as serious as violence from a man to a woman (Harvey, et. al, 2014). Local IDVA provision may only work with female survivors and not gay, bisexual or trans men. Trans people can also be turned away because of their gender history (being assigned male at birth) and various reports illustrate a lack of emergency refuge space for gay/bi men and most trans people (Roch, 2012; Roch et al., 2010). In addition, SafeLives national dataset 2012-2013 demonstrates only 0.7 % MARAC high risk cases were noted to involve LGBT victims and 2013-214 dataset demonstrated only 2% of all victim cases identified as LGB and 0.2% identified as trans.

Aim

The project aims to promote greater understanding and inform existing policy and practice addressing domestic violence, to ensure the needs of LGBT survivors of domestic violence are recognised and met. 

Main activities

Research

The project will produce a research report documenting the nature of LGBT domestic violence, including geography of incidents and profile of victims and survivors reporting to LGBT domestic abuse services. The report will also summarize strategic recommendations for researchers, commissioners, policy makers and service providers.    

Networking and building alliances

We will cooperate with local, regional and national LGBT, DV and VAWG services to ensure a wide network of partners supporting dissemination of information, providing capacity building, awareness raising and policy development.

Advocacy and capacity building

The project will identify and address gaps in national and regional DV and VAWG polices. We will also build on the LGBT Domestic Abuse Forum and develop it as a National LGBT DV Network to promote consistent and shared approach to dealing with the barriers LGBT people face when accessing local services.

Awareness raising

We will produce a set of guidelines for commissioners and factsheets for DV, VAWG and criminal justice agencies. We will also organise a national conference convening policy influencers, stakeholders, and practitioners from the LGBT and VAWG sectors.