LGBT domestic violence services in Brighton

Besi Besemar September 22, 2014

The LGBTQI Domestic Violence and Abuse service at RISE provides specialist support to lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans*, queer and intersex people affected by abuse from a partner, ex-partner or family member.

Rise: LGBT Domestic ViolenceOne in three LGBTQI experience domestic abuse (Count Me In Too, 2007), but it can often be a hidden issue. People may worry about not being believed, or think they are responsible for the abuse, which prevents them from seeking help. However, it is never your fault if you are experiencing abuse. You are not alone, and there is support available.

Domestic abuse is not restricted to physical violence, and can also include:

• Sexual violence/abuse

• Emotional abuse

• Coercive control

• Financial abuse/exploitation

LGBTQI people can experience unique forms of abuse. Abusers will often use a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation against them as part of a pattern of power and control. For example, they may say that domestic abuse does not happen in same sex relationships, refuse to use your preferred pronoun or threaten to ‘out’ you.

The LGBTQI service at RISE provides confidential advocacy, practical advice and emotional support. Their aim is to help people feel physically and emotionally safer, though they do not tell people what to do and offer support regardless of whether someone chooses to remain in a relationship or not. They work in a way which is sensitive to the unique barriers that LGBTQI people can face.

“The services that have evolved at RISE reflect the unique and changing population of Brighton and Hove and RISE was particularly commended for a pioneering service for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender survivors” (Women’s Aid).

The LGBTQI service at RISE is constantly developing and growing. They have recently been engaging with young LGBTQI people to explore the issues they face in relationships. They will shortly be writing a report about this work to help other professionals support younger LGBTQI people around abusive relationships.

If you are experiencing domestic abuse, there are things you can do immediately to help you feel safer. Safety measures vary depending on your circumstances, for example whether you are living with your abuser, but some things you can try are:

• Keep your phone with you and charged at all times

• Identify a trusted person you could stay with in an emergency

• If you are concerned about being followed, vary your routine and avoid becoming isolated when out in public

• Change your locks and review the security of your home

• Keep some emergency money aside in case you need to get a taxi to a place of safety

• Review your privacy settings online. Social media can be used to harass you or identify your whereabouts

• If you are in danger, call 999

You can contact the LGBTQI Domestic Violence and Abuse service at RISE by phone or email. If you are getting support from another service, you can also ask them to contact them on your behalf. The service is open to people of all genders, aged 16+ in Brighton and Hove.

A former service user, said:  “I was pleasantly surprised to find out that there was an LGBT Service within RISE. Although I know that all of their staff and volunteers are well-trained and inclusive, it felt good to be able to talk to a worker who was also in the LGBT community. I really recommend anyone who is worried, scared or just unsure, to get in touch with RISE. It could change your life as it has mine and also many others.” 

RISE Helpline: 01273 622822


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