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  Call: 0115 9348485

  Text: 07481 344040

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Registered Charity number 1114273

Formerly Nottingham & Notts Lesbian & Gay Switchboard

Same Sex/LGBT+ Domestic Abuse












What is Domestic Abuse?


Domestic abuse is when someone you know tries to control your life – a partner, ex-partner or “family” member.


It is about power and control.

Domestic abuse causes fear, physical injuries, emotional and psychological harm.


All forms of abusive behaviour can cause emotional harm


Domestic abuse isn’t just physical

If you feel scared or fearful of anything that happens in your relationship, or sense that things  are not ok for you, this might indicate that your relationship is abusive.


Domestic abuse can be:


Emotional Abuse – such as name calling, humiliation, threats to kill or commit violence against you, children, “family” members, animals or friends, and threats to commit suicide and hold you accountable for this. Threats to or actually ‘out you’ in terms of being LGBT, or may use your health status such as mental ill health or HIV.


Social Abuse – being deliberately isolated by an abuser who may control who you can and can’t see, monitor your movements and contact with “family” and friends by accessing texts, emails, social media accounts or listening to phone calls. They may try to cause fights with your “family”/friends or prevent them from visiting. You may be restricted from  engaging with or taking part in LGBT or other   community events.


Financial Abuse – an abuser may take control of all the income and withdraw or threaten to withdraw financial support. You may be forced to put debt in your name, be made to explain all spending, have money stolen from you, or be denied access to your own money. Being forced to commit fraud is also a type of financial abuse.


Sexual Abuse – this includes rape, sexual  assault, being forced to do anything you are uncomfortable with including your partner refusing to practice safe sex, ignoring agreed boundaries around sexual behaviour or being forced to watch sexual degradation of others.


Physical Abuse – this covers a range of behaviours that causes you, or threatens you  with harm and includes punching, slapping, hair-pulling, strangling, kicking, being locked   in confined spaces, using or threatening to use weapons like knives, guns or other objects. It may be that another adult or child is harmed instead of you with the aim of causing you emotional distress.


Stalking – this type of abuse may begin once  a relationship is over but can occur whilst still in a relationship. It includes intimidation or   harassment via constant phone calls, texts or  e-mails, being given unwanted gifts/letters, having your home or car broken into, following, loitering outside home, work or social settings.


All forms of domestic abuse are wrong and the abuse and its consequences are the responsibility of the person committing the abuse. It is not your fault.  Domestic abuse is a crime


Summary of unique aspects of same sex domestic abuse



Society at large and services generally operate on the assumption that everyone is heterosexual and this creates stress for LGBT individuals since it limits access to support services. Heterosexism also controls whether LGBT come ‘out’.


Not being ‘out’:

There are many LGBT people who for various reasons are not able to be open about their sexual orientation and their same sex relationships or their gender identity. This limits their ability to reach out to friends, colleagues, GP, their family for support when they are in domestic abusive relationship.


Threat of ‘outing’:

Perpetrators can use this against their partners and threaten to ‘out’ them to their family, employers, work colleagues, landlords etc. This is a very powerful tool.


Fear of and actual homophobia/bipphobia/transphobia:

This limits access to support services and also means that LGBT people are unable to gain an equitable service. It can also mean that individuals are cut off from their friends and family, which has a negative impact on the support available to them. Bisexual, trans and intersex people in same sex relationships may also experience this kind of discrimination.


Many LGB people have grown up with negative messages about being LGBT and this can have an enormous effect on individuals and can create a deep sense of shame about sexual identity. This in turn has an impact on developing and maintaining healthy relationships. Perpetrators can use this as a form of abuse against their partner by creating the impression that if they were to seek help from services then those services will discriminate against them because of being LGBT.



Society at large and services generally operate on the assumption that everyone is cisgender and this creates stress for transgender individuals since it limits access to support services. Cissexism also controls whether Trans people come ‘out’.


Heterosexist and sexist stereotypes:

Perpetrators use these to hide the domestic abuse and to increase their power and control by persuading their partner that the behaviour is not domestic abuse but an expression of ‘masculinity’ or that lesbians do not carry out domestic abuse because ‘women are not violent’. This is particularly powerful when the LGBT person is in their first same sex relationship.


Undermining sexual identity:

telling a partner that they are not a ‘real’ lesbian or gay man because they have been in a relationship and/or sexually active with someone from the opposite sex, have friends of the opposite sex, have had children (they are a ‘breeder’), or that they prefer certain sexual practices/behaviours.


Telling a partner that they’re not really trans, especially if they have come out as trans later in life. The other partner can sometimes feel worried and threatened by this new information and seek to undermine the ‘coming out’ process by implying that they need more time, or that family or friends won’t accept the fact, or by stating that it will harm the children, etc.


Telling a non-binary person that they’re making up their identity, that people won’t accept using their correct pronouns (e.g. if they use they/them/their), that they’re really the gender they were assigned at birth. This is compounded by the law in England not yet formally recognising non-binary identities, although they are in discussion currently (2016) and are fully accepted with non-binary markers (X/Other) on passports in other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, and Nepal.


Perpetrators can also convince their partners that the abusive behaviour is normal and that they do not understand LGBT relationships. These are particularly powerful when the LGB person is in their first same sex relationship.


Whilst there are some similarities between LGBT+ and heterosexual domestic abuse, such as the prevalence rates and the kinds of abuse perpetrated/experienced there are some key differences.

Planning to leave


Deciding to leave an abusive relationship takes a lot of courage and can be physically dangerous and emotionally difficult.


Think ahead – you may have to leave quickly, so make a plan and get support to help you leave in safety. You can talk to Broken Rainbow about your safety plan on 07812 644 914 (same sex domestic abuse helpline).


Here are some important things to think about:


   Save some money – keep it separate and make sure you have a bank/cash card

   Find out the nearest place that you could go to for safety such as a friend, family member or

   an organisation – see contact details on the next page

   Have your own emergency mobile phone and also keep a list of emergency numbers with you

   – friends, family, services

   Keep together all important things you may need to take with you: documents for yourself and

   children such as passport, driving licence, birth certificate, benefit book, bank details, medical

   cards and medicines. Spare house and car keys

   If you have children try to take them with you or get them to a place of safety

   Once you are safe try not to reveal your whereabouts, particularly online such as Facebook

   and Twitter


You’re not alone – there are organisations that can help

National Specialist Support


The LGBT support organisation Broken Rainbow has closed. Similar support is now available from Galop. For details, click HERE


National Domestic Violence Helpline

Confidential 24 hour helpline for anyone    Helpline: 0808 2000 247


Other National Support


Child Line Confidential helpline for children & young people including LGBT support

Freephone 0800 11 11


Press for Change   Confidential advice and support for Trans people, their partners, families and carers.

E-Mail: [email protected]     Helpline 08448 708 165   (Thursdays guaranteed answer)


Men’s Advice Line  Help & support for male victims of domestic abuse   0808 801 0327


Refs for Pets This charity can find a temporary home for your pets while you are living in temporary accommodation.

Tel. 07971 337 264


Local Support & Referral


If you feel you are in immediate danger don’t hesitate, call the Police on 999 Police non-urgent number: 101


Women’s Aid Integrated Services  Provides full range of support around domestic abuse Tel: 0115 822 1777  

Helpline 0808 800 0340


The Health Shop  Provides support to LGBT people experiencing domestic violence/sexual assault and will advocate and support access to domestic and sexual violence services within Nottingham:

0115 9709590    73 Hounds Gate, Nottingham, NG1 6BB


Nottingham Women’s Centre   Provides a range of services and support to women only       Tel: 0115 941 1475


Equation  Provides Information for survivors of domestic violence about where to go for help.Direct practical and emotional support to men experiencing domestic abuse

Tel: 0115 9623 237 [email protected]


Notts LGBT+ Network Provides information on all issues relating to LGBT people. Can signpost people to relevant services for those experiencing same-sex domestic abuse.

0115 9348485 7pm-9.15pm  Monday to Friday


To download a leaflet on this issuse click HERE

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