PRESS RELEASE 28.01.15

#EDM 653 Campaign for safe accommodation for LGBT survivors

A cross-party group of MPs, alongside LGBT Housing Association Stonewall Housing, have tabled an Early Day Motion highlighting the issue of domestic abuse in the LGBT community. Stonewall Housing are aware that not enough is being done to address the drastically under-reported problem of domestic abuse in the LGBT* communities. There is now a wealth of evidence that reveals that domestic abuse is at least as high, if not higher, amongst sub-groups of this community. Notably:

  • A Stonewall survey of lesbian and bisexual women in 2008[2] revealed that one in four – the same proportion as heterosexual non-trans women – experienced domestic violence.
  • Another 2011 Stonewall survey[3] of gay and bisexual men found that half of them had experienced at least one incident of domestic abuse from a family member or partner since the age of 16.
  • A 2010 survey by the Scottish Trans Alliance and LGBT Youth Scotland[4] found that domestic abuse was a concern for the majority of those surveyed.

Domestic abuse is committed against LGBT people by ex/partners and family members of all genders and sexualities.  Abuse, particularly against the younger LGBT survivors, is frequently from family members who are intolerant of their sexual or gender identity.

The Government has not committed funding to provide any LGBT refuge provision in any part of theUKleaving LGBT survivors at risk of further abuse.  LGBT people fall through the gaps, leading to an increase in anti-social behaviour, homelessness, self-harm, suicidal ideation, and a decline of physical and mental wellbeing.

Sarah Champion MP said: “Tragically, domestic abuse is an issue which affects both men and women in both same-sex and opposite-sex relationships, and with different gender identities. This Early Day Motion – which I have tabled with the help of Stonewall Housing, and a cross-party group of MPs – is about highlighting this. 

“The Government and local councils need to recognise the diverse range of people who suffer in abusive relationships. A “one size fits all approach” won’t always work, and runs the risk of alienating and potentially harming some survivors. 

“We need the Government to commit ring-fenced funding for specialist refuges for LGBT survivors, as they have already done for women; and we need police, government and local councils to target some interventions specifically towards this group. This needs to happen as part of a broader drive to improve provision for all survivors of domestic abuse.”

Maria Sookias:   Coordinator for LGBT Domestic Abuse Forum said: “ This campaign is building momentum. So far 22 MP’s have signed the petition but we need more to sway hearts and minds to keep LGBT survivors safe. Even the Home Office funding for Broken Rainbow’s advice line is under threat. Funding safe accommodation for LGBT survivors is not a luxury, it’s a necessity and one that in the long term saves public money. All political parties are setting their priorities in preparation for the period after the election. Now is the time to ask your MP what they are doing to keep LGBT people safe and encouraging their local MPs to show support by signing EDM 653 or by writing to the Communities and Local Government Secretary Eric Pickles MP” 

If you or someone you know may be homeless due to domestic abuse, call Stonewall Housing’s free and confidential advice line on 0207 359 5767.  If you do not have the money to make that call reverse the charges and Stonewall Housing will call you back. You can also email for advice via www.stonewallhousing.org

If you would like to support the work of Stonewall Housing, go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charities/StonewallHousing

For further information please contact:

Stonewall Housing Office: info@stonewallhousing.org or 0207 359 6242