Hidden victims of domestic abuse urged to seek help

  |  Published: Oct 8th 2015
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An initiative to raise awareness of domestic violence in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community has been launched in Buckinghamshire this week.

The campaign, which is the first of its kind in the county, is being run by a partnership of organisations including Buckinghamshire County Council, Thames Valley Police and the district councils.

The aim of the targeted campaign, which also coincides with National Coming Out Day on Sunday, October 11, is to ensure that members of the LGBT community in Bucks are better informed about where to seek support for domestic abuse.

It will also focus on encouraging LGBT people who experience, domestic abuse to report incidents to the police, so they can be helped and supported quickly.

In addition, the partnership has launched an online survey to find out how services across the county can be better tailored to the needs of the LGBT community.

The questionnaire which is available to complete online at www.research.net/r/LGBTBUCKS is completely confidential and anonymous.

Anyone can suffer domestic abuse and those within the LGBT community are no exception. Whilst there are many parallels between opposite-sex and same-sex domestic abuse, there are a few unique aspects to LGBT experience.

These can take shape in “outing” as a method of control or even a lack of recognition that their experience is ‘abuse’ due to hetero-centric understanding of domestic abuse.

In addition, LGBT communities are often hidden and this is often compounded when living in smaller towns and rural areas which can make it difficult for the abused partner to seek help.

Police Constable Beck Brydon, a Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officer (LAGLO) at Thames Valley Police said: "If you are suffering domestic abuse, you are not alone. All our officers are equipped to support individuals within LGBT communities. However for extra support and understanding we have specially trained LAGLOs (Lesbian and Gay Liaison Officers).

"LAGLOs are dedicated to their role, offering a unique insight into LGBT issues and using this to offer information and support to both victims and witnesses. All reports of LGBT domestic abuse will be treated seriously, confidentially and most importantly, sensitively. We can discuss safety planning and support networks."

Martin Phillips, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement at Buckinghamshire County Council said: "Domestic and sexual abuse is never acceptable and there are many hidden victims, but help is available.

"We are committed to working with our partners to raise awareness of this support for anybody who requires it, regardless of their circumstances.  I would encourage victims to come forward, no matter what the relationship with their abuser."

To contact a LAGLO, call 101 and ask to speak with one. In an emergency always dial 999. For more information on LGBT Domestic Abuse advice visit www.reducingtherisk.org.uk

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