Brighton and Hove LGBT Switchboard has launched a new LGBTQ domestic abuse service for the city, which will support LGBTQ+ victims and survivors in an inclusive and affirmative community-led space. The service is open to anyone 16+ who self-identifies as LGBTQ+ and lives, works or studies in Brighton & Hove.
Domestic abuse can affect people of any gender, race, sexuality, age, ethnicity or socio-economic background. Overall, LGBTQ+ people are significantly more likely to experience sexual and intimate partner violence than non-LGBTQ+ people (Stonewall, 2018). Trans individuals in particular experience a heightened risk, for example Stonewall’s 2018 Trans Report found that more than a quarter of trans people (28%) in a relationship faced domestic abuse from a partner in the last year. However, historically LGBTQ+ people have struggled to access specialist, accessible and inclusive services. Switchboard’s domestic abuse service was created to bridge this gap.
Domestic abuse is a pattern of violent, threatening, coercive or controlling behaviors. This could be from a family member, partner(s) or ex-partner(s). Switchboard’s Independent Domestic Violence Advisors (IDVAs) can help with housing and accessing refuge services, financial issues and benefits, navigating the criminal justice system, and assist with mental and physical health needs. Whether the abuse is recent, historical, or you’re worried about a relationship with your partner or family, Switchboard’s IDVAs are here to listen. Speaking up is the first step.
Raf Galdeano, Switchboard’s LGBTQ+ IDVA, said: “We’re excited to be able to offer an explicitly trans-inclusive domestic abuse service created by and for the LGBTQ+ community. Everyone deserves to feel safe in their relationships and be valued and respected by the people around them”.
Jacob Bayliss, Switchboard’s CEO, said: “LGBTQ+ people deserve to feel safe and supported in all areas of their lives, but we know that they haven’t always felt confident accessing mainstream services.
“We are always struck by the number of people who choose not to access our services because they don’t feel what they are going through is enough to require our support.
“We want you to know that if you are LGBTQ+ we are here for you, and no question or concern is too big or too small for us to help you with. Even if you aren’t sure if what you are experiencing is abuse, we’re happy to lend our support and advice so you can make the best possible choices for you.”