A campaign has been launched this week to help promote a domestic violence support service providing help and support to members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community.
The independent domestic violence service, delivered by Birmingham LGBT has recently received confirmation of funding from the Henry Smith Foundation enabling the service to run beyond the pilot stage. The campaign supported by Birmingham Community Safety Partnership, hopes to continue to promote this service to encourage more members of the LGBT community to seek help and is the only one of its kind in the Midlands. Such publicity is still crucial, as while society as a whole is becoming more aware of domestic violence and the culture of tolerance towards domestic violence is decreasing, this is not yet the case in relation to abuse in LGBT relationships.
Birmingham LGBT, a third sector service provider is currently supporting people who are either still in or have recently exited abusive relationships, and people at risk of forced marriage or so called ‘honour’ based violence from family members. There will however be many people out there who may benefit from this support but haven’t yet realised it is available; it is really important therefore that the service is promoted to spread the word and advertise the service as widely as possible.
Whilst mainstream services will support any woman affected by domesti violence regardless of sexuality or gender identity, many LGBT people either do not realise this, or choose not to access such a service.
Evidence suggests that around 1 in 4 LGBT people will experience domestic abuse in their lifetime, and it is likely that for bisexual and trans* people the numbers are far higher[i]. This was backed up by research funded by the Birmingham Community Safety Partnership in 2014, called ‘Another Closet’. Despite these high numbers, there is still very limited awareness of the subject, leading to many victims suffering alone, being unable to identify what is happening to them and not knowing where to go for support. Birmingham LGBT are hoping that with a focused campaign including a billboard in the gay village and posters on number 50 buses, there will be an increased understanding not only of the issue at hand, but also of the support which is on offer.
Anna Robottom, Independent Domestic Violence Advocate at Birmingham LGBT stated:
“We are really pleased to be able to continue to offer this crucial service beyond the pilot stage. Over the last eighteen months we have been able to offer a potentially life-saving service to many members of Birmingham’s LGBT community, but there will be many more we have not yet reached. Our hope is that by running a further publicity campaign at this point we will be able to reach more of these people, and spread the message that domestic violence does happen in our communities too, but there is specialist support available to those who may need it.
“Our LGBT specialism also allows us to work with survivors around the additional or different dynamics and risks that can occur in relation to sexuality and gender identity, such as the threat of being outed, whilst in a safe and supportive environment.”
Cllr, Paulette Hamilton, Cabinet Member for Health & Social Care said:
“I think it’s really important to have services people feel safe using, or victims will feel let down. For those who can already face prejudice, like the LGBT community, that challenge is all the more important, and one this service helps us meet.”
Cllr Waseem Zaffar, Cabinet Member for Transparency, Openness & Equality said:
“I’m really pleased that Birmingham Community Safety Partnership is helping to promote this service. Research commissioned two years year ago found that the majority of LGBT people in the Birmingham area wanted to see the provision of a specialist domestic violence service. This has been confirmed in feedback from current service users."
Notes to Editors
- Please contact Natasha Bhandal on 0121 303 8727 or Kris Kowaleski on 0121 303 3621 for further information.
- Photo attached pictured L-R are: Cllr Paulette Hamilton, Cllr Waseem Zaffar and Steph Keeble from Birmingham LGBT.
- If you would like to access support in relation to domestic violence then please contact Anna Robottom on 0121 643 0821, or if you know anyone who may benefit from the service then please share these details with them. Anyone who would like to know more about the service, request training, or request leaflets to help publicise the service further can get in touch in the same way.
- The service exists to support anyone in Birmingham and the surrounding areas who identifies as LGB and/or T, is age 16 plus, and is experiencing abuse from a partner, ex-partner or family member. One of the main purposes of the service is to support people to understand their options and stay as safe as possible whilst facing abuse and aims to offer a service which meets the individual needs of those it supports.
- Domestic violence is experienced by around 1 in 4 lesbian, gay and bisexual and affects many trans* people too. Domestic violence is a pattern of controlling behaviour that escalates in frequency and severity. It can include physical, emotional, sexual and / or financial abuse, within the context of an intimate or family relationship.
- Birmingham Community Safety Partnership is a joint partnership between Birmingham City Council, West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service and other agencies that work together to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour that affects our communities.
[i] Comparing domestic violence in same sex and heterosexual relationships Donovan et all 2006
Out and about mapping LGBT lives in Birmingham Woods et all 2011