All of the Domestic Violence services who attended a recent conference on LGBT Domestic Abuse have been accessed by LGBT people needing support for domestic violence.
Women’s Aid, Rape Crisis NE and AMEN stated that they had all worked with LGBT people accessing services.
The first of its kind in Ireland, the conference is the first step in a discussion on Domestic Abuse in LGBT relationships.
It was hosted by Dundalk Outcomers with the support of Cosc (the National Office for the Prevention of Domestic, Sexual and Gender-based Violence) and the Health Service Executive NE.
Bernardine Quinn, Project Manager of Outcomers, said there is anecdotal evidence that Domestic Abuse in LGBT relationships is as prevalent as it is in heterosexual relationships.
Ms Quinn went on to say that this topic has been something that she has encountered consistently over the 16 years she has been working in LGBT support services.
The conference was attended by agencies from across the Statutory, Community and Voluntary Sectors with representatives from an Garda Siochana, the Irish Prisons Services, Domestic Abuse support services, HSE NE, Children’s Services, CAMHS, IACP, family support services and youth and community orgs, and political representatives, showing a clear commitment to addressing this issue.
The contributors highlighted some of the barriers LGBT victims and perpetrators of Domestic Abuse face, and ways in which organisations can respond.
Amy Roch of Voluntary Action Fund UK (Violence Against Women Team) also spoke to the Transgender experience of the issue, stating that “80% of transgender research respondents had experienced emotionally, sexually or physically abusive behaviour from a partner or ex-partner.”
The conference was used as a platform to launch a Domestic Abuse information campaign for LGBT people asking the question “Are You?” Launching the campaign, Greg Heylin, Director of Cosc, said “I am very excited by this initiative.
It is very brave in the context of LGBT to come out and say ‘this is happening, there is help available and this is where you can get it’.
I commend this work… this is the beginning of something you’ll remember ‘I was at that conference in Dundalk all those years ago when this started’.”
For information on Domestic Abuse in LGBT relationships, supports available and the information campaign “Are You?” contact Dundalk Outcomers on 042 9329816 or see www.outcomers.org, or contact the National LGBT Helpline on 1890 929 539 or on www.lgbt.ie