This post discusses intimate partner violence. If you or anyone you know needs help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). Anonymous, confidential help is available 24/7.
How does Intimate Partner Violence affect the LGBTQ+ community?
TL;DR: People in the LGBTQ+ community are more likely to experience IPV. The violence is underreported and resources, including shelters, are scarce. Sexual preference and gender identity play a role in the violence and are also a barrier to seeking resources.
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) is intentional abusive behavior where one partner maintains consistent power and control over the other. IPV is experienced by individuals of all ages, races, religions, genders, sexual identities, etc., but the risk in the LGBTQ+ community is higher. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence:|
* More than half of transgender people experience IPV
* Bisexual women and men are at twice the risk for IPV compared to heterosexual people
There are elements of abuse and control that are more common in the LGBTQ+ community that keep the victim in the abusive relationship. This includes threatening to “out” the partner to employers, family, or friends, losing custody of a child, and taking advantage of the partner’s fear of the authorities.
While IPV in the LGBTQ+ community is more likely and more complex, it is often ignored and underreported. A major reason is that the tools that assess IPV are based on cisgender, heterosexual people. Identifying IPV among lesbian partners is often missed because of the assumption that women are not violent. In many cases, LGBTQ+ victims are less likely to ask for help because of potential bullying, discrimination, and bias by service providers, who include frontline staff, shelter employees, legal support, and advocates.
Even when the violence is reported, it is harder to find help and resources. Sexual preference and gender identity are reasons for the violence and are also barriers to finding safety. For example, most domestic violence shelters are for “male” or “female” only – they either exclude transgender and non-binary people or ask to see proof of their gender. There are also not enough mental health professionals trained to help LGBTQ+ survivors of IPV.
You can help by knowing the signs of IPV, building community awareness, not being judgmental, and offering to find resources if the victim asks for help. Survivors are more likely to get the help they need when they know they are not alone.
If you or anyone you know needs help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or 1-800-787-3224 (TTY). Anonymous, confidential help is available 24/7.
In the UK, call the 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline: 0808 2000 247
Stay safe. Stay well.
Those Nerdy Girls
Earlier TNG Post: How can I recognize signs of Intimate Partner Violence