Disappointment that Gays, Lesbians and Transgender People Ignored in Tory Domestic Violence Plans
LONDON, December 31, 2008 – Broken Rainbow, the UK’s sole LGBT domestic violence telephone helpline, is surprised and disappointed that lesbians, gays and transgender people are not included in the Conservative plans to tackle domestic violence.
Last week, Tory leader David Cameron promised to spend an extra £2.6m to help women experiencing rape, domestic violence, forced marriages and trafficking.
But not included were the estimated 1 in 4 LGBT people who experience domestic violence in the UK.
In an interview with BBC Radio Four’s Woman’s Hour, the Conservative leader pledged a cross-departmental strategy on tackling violence against women.
The current Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has said she will launch a consultation on improving the safety of women, “in their homes, at work and in public”.
“It is surprising and disappointing that lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people have been so obviously omitted in the Conservative Party plans,” Jo Barringer, chair of the trustees of Broken Rainbow, said today.
“It is even more surprising as the Conservatives have many gay, lesbian and bisexual MPs.
“However, even with the current Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, we are seeing a blinkered descriptive of those suffering from domestic violence.
“Domestic violence is not just a women’s issue – it is an issue suffered by all, regardless of race, religion, gender and sexuality, etc. It is a human condition..
Interim CEO of Broken Rainbow, Rita Hirani, added that with no specialised LGBT refuges and a lack of training for services dealing with domestic violence survivors and perpetrators has meant that the community is in a void, where those meant to help do not even have the training to tell common assault from instances of domestic violence.
“As such the LGBT community is perpetually being held back from moving forward and this is borne out in statistics,” she added.
With very few provisions in place to help LGBT people experiencing domestic violence and abuse, under reporting is rife which is leading to a lack of improvement in repeat instances of domestic violence incidents.
Broken Rainbow is calling for thought to be put into more inclusive public statements from the Government and Opposition parties, and also increased support and funding for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities regarding domestic violence and abuse.
Formed in 2004, Broken Rainbow runs the only UK LGBT Domestic Violence helpline staffed by LGBT people for LGBT people.
During the festive period, calls to all domestic violence helplines increase as the stresses and strains and broken promises of a new year and new start all fall down. This year, especially, there are the added pressures brought on by redundancies, financial uncertainty and the house price slump.
■ Comparing Domestic Violence in Same Sex Relationships, Dr Catherine Donovan, M Hester, J Holmes and M Mc Carry, University of Bristol/University of Sunderland, November 2006. (Opens in Adobe Acrobat reader)
Survey: Count Me In Too - LGBT Lives in Brighton & Hove, by Dr Kath Browne, University of Brighton/Spectrum LGBT Community Forum, December 2007. (Opens in Adobe Acrobat reader)
Cameron Promises to Tackle Violence Against Women. By Hélène Mulholland. David Cameron today pledged that a Conservative government would fund 15 additional rape crisis centres to tackle violence against women. (Guardian, December 22, 2008)