A new report from the Home Affairs Committee on Domestic Abuse emphasises the need for and value of specialist services and the role those services have in supporting vulnerable and minority groups.
THE report identifies how LGBT+ survivors might feel unsure of, or are reluctant to disclose their relationships and identity with non-LGBT+ organisations and fear and/or anticipate being misunderstood, prejudiced or discriminated against.
It further acknowledges LGBT+ survivors as one of the groups that benefit from specialist targeted services.
There is currently disparate provision of specialist services and programs supporting LGBT+ survivors, which remains inconsistent and patchy across the UK. There’s also a lack of refuge provision for LGBT+ survivors fleeing violence and abuse, including those with no recourse to public funds and currently only four services in England provide LGBT+ specialist Independent Domestic Violence Advisor support.
Nik Noone, CEO of Galop the national LGBT+ Anti Violence charity said: “We welcome the explicit recognition within the report that domestic violence impacts LGBT+ communities and that LGBT+ survivors experience additional barriers when seeking support. Our communities have a history of discrimination at law and it is vitally important that they are visible, included and protected in legal provisions and services. This is key if we are to overcome the underreporting of domestic abuse and ensure that LGBT+ survivors access appropriate support.”
She continued: “We therefore strongly support the Committees’ recommendation that the Government’s review of refuge and other domestic abuse support services should document and report what specialist provision is currently available for protected, vulnerable or minority groups, and for people with additional needs such as debts or drug or alcohol dependency, and where there are gaps which need to be addressed.
“Finally, we also agree that further improvements in police response are required. It is imperative that in-depth training in recognising and responding to coercive and controlling behaviour as a key aspect of domestic violence is delivered to all frontline police officers. This must include a recognition of the experience of LGBT+ people, including identity-based abuse. Such training has to be ongoing, part of accredited Continuing Professional Development and not just one-off.”
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