A campaign was launched yesterday (September 22) to promote a new service providing help and support to members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) community suffering from domestic violence.
The campaign launched today and supported by Birmingham Community Safety Partnership, hopes to promote this service to encourage more members of the LGBT community to seek help and is the first of its kind in the Midlands.
Birmingham LGBT, a third sector service provider delivering the Independent Domestic Violence Support Service, is currently supporting several 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.
The service can support anyone from Birmingham and the surrounding area who identifies as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual and/or transgender, and is experiencing abuse from a partner, ex-partner, or family member.
Support from the service can include emotional support, risk assessment and safety planning, support with court processes, advocacy with other agencies and more. Most of this support is during office hours, but there may also be the opportunity for some evening support sessions.
Whilst mainstream services will support any woman affected by domestic violence regardless of sexuality or gender identity, many LGBT people either do not realise this, or choose not to access such a service.
Anna Robottom, Birmingham LGBT, commented: “Research commissioned last year 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 who have commented on how helpful it has been to be able to focus on their experiences of abuse without having to worry about how their sexuality or gender identity would be responded to.
“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 James McKay, Cabinet Member for Inclusion and Community Safety, said: “We’ve got to have services people feel safe using, or we’ll let down victims. For those who can already face prejudice, like the LGBT community, that challenge is all the more important, and one this new service will help us meet.”
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.
Notes to editors
1. Please contact Natasha Bhandal on 0121 303 8727 or Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621 for further information.
2. 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.
3. 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.