Mainstream domestic violence campaigns are normally solely directed at heterosexuals
and tend to be heterosexist in language. Moreover, though mainstream crime-reporting
systems may increasingly encourage LGBT people to report violent incidents, they rarely
make mention of domestic violence.
“Same-sex domestic abuse is hugely unreported,” admits DC Forsyth from the Community
Safety Unit at Kingston Police Station which has been conducting an awareness campaign.
“I would encourage anyone living with domestic abuse to contact their local Police Station
and speak to a member of its Community Safety Unit. Police can offer help and support on
numerous levels to reduce and remove the fear of domestic abuse.”
Thankfully, often with Broken Rainbow’s support, more and more mainstream agencies - and
not just police - are now taking LGBT domestic violence seriously and are working on
improving their overall services.
“Deciding to leave the abusive relationship may bring a whole new set of problems,” relates
Kate Blackshaw, LGBT outreach worker at Victim Support Kensington & Chelsea, another mainstream
organisation now committed to helping tackle the issue. “There may then be harassment and
threats by the ex-partner, financial hardship, housing problems and even homelessness. We can be
there to help, whether it be liaising or advocating - on behalf of the survivor - with housing
departments and the police; giving information about other sources of help, or simply offering
emotional support through a difficult time. What we will not do is make judgements or give advice
based on what we think is ‘best’ for the victim.”
Broken Rainbow has also been highly effective in lobbying behind the scenes, advising on new
legislation. It was consulted by the Home Office on the new Domestic Violence Crime and
Victims Act 2004 which thankfully now gives LGBTs many of the civil and criminal remedies
already available to heterosexuals.
Broken Rainbow received an £120k Home Office grant to help set up their Helpline.
Police services - especially the Met here in London - have also provided significant
support. Its next goal is to set up the first emergency refuges for LGBTs. Police
officers are often frustrated about the lack of refuge services for queers, especially
guys. Bemoans Verrier: “Without the provision of somewhere safe to go, many are often
forced to remain with the violence. This is a large gap in support that Broken Rainbow
is pushing very hard to close.”
Verrier also wants to expand the Helpline into a 24/7 service, offer additional face-to-face
support and set up “survivor” groups nationwide. He is currently searching for volunteers
with the expertise required to identify - and apply for - the necessary funding.
For confidential support and information about domestic violence, phone the Broken
Rainbow Helpline on 020 8539 9507, Mon-Fri 9am-1pm & 2pm-5pm (Minicom: 020 8539 9521)
If you want to help Broken Rainbow in any way, contact them on
email@example.com or by writing to The Co-Chairs, Broken Rainbow, Community Place, 806 High Road, London E10 6AE.
Broken Rainbow is a registered charity and donations by cheque or postal order are always welcome,
made out to: ‘Broken Rainbow LGBT Domestic Violence Service (UK)’
Sigma Research recently conducted a survey of incidents domestic violence in the UK.
You can read the full survey results at