Recent research has shown that members of the LGBTQI+ community are more vulnerable to family violence. However, despite this increased risk, they are less likely to recognize it and receive appropriate support when they do. Shockingly, approximately half of LGBTQI+ individuals will experience domestic, family, or intimate partner violence in their lifetime. Furthermore, according to recent statistics, they are more likely to experience sexual coercion than heterosexual women, with 62% of transgender males and 43% of intersex females reporting abuse.
It is crucial to understand that domestic and family violence affects people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. One in three LGBTQI+ people experience violence from a partner, ex-partner, or family member, putting them at the same risk as the general population. However, LGBTQI+ individuals face additional obstacles when seeking support services tailored to their unique needs.
Abuse in LGBTQI+ relationships may have similarities to abusive relationships in general, but there are also significant differences. Perpetrators may use someone’s intersex status, sexuality, gender, gender expression, transgender, or HIV status against them. They may threaten to “out” someone to their family, friends, community, or workplace, exposing their gender, sexuality, intersex status, or HIV status. Perpetrators may control access to gender transition-related healthcare or pressure someone to conform to sex or gender “norms.”
LGBTQI+ individuals may also face challenges when seeking help due to a lack of appropriate language and confidentiality around discussing abuse in LGBTI communities/relationships. Access to mainstream services that cater to the needs of LGBTQI+ individuals, such as safe housing services for male victims, supports for female perpetrators, transgender, and intersex inclusive services, is often limited. Fear of discrimination, misunderstanding, or minimization from police and service providers can also prevent individuals from seeking help.
In addition, differing legal rights over children and assets can further complicate matters for those experiencing DFV in LGBTQI+ relationships. It is crucial to acknowledge and address these unique challenges and work to ensure that LGBTQI+ individuals receive the support and services they need to live free from violence and abuse.