Free to be Safe: LGBT+ people experiencing domestic abuse

Spotlight report on LGBT+ people and domestic abuse

Anyone can experience domestic abuse, and it can be perpetrated by anyone – whatever their gender identity or sexual orientation. Our sixth Spotlight report shines a light on the experiences of LGBT+ victims and survivors of domestic abuse.

The government’s national LGBT survey and Action Plan, launched in July 2018, identified that there was far more to be done to support this group of victims and survivors, who will often be experiencing prejudice in their everyday lives alongside domestic abuse.

We know that those who identify as LGBT+ face additional barriers to accessing support that are unique to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Evidence suggests that LGBT+ victims and survivors aren’t accessing services at the same rate as others in the population.

While we use the term LGBT+, we recognise that LGBT+ people are not a homogenous group, and those who identify as LGBT+ will have widely different identities and experiences. It is essential that practitioners always seek to understand the unique identities and needs of the people they support.

  • 28%

    of LGBT+ victims of domestic abuse have attempted suicide

  • 15%

    of LGBT+ victims of domestic abuse have been abused by multiple perpetrators

Key findings

  • Statutory and non-statutory services are missing opportunities to identify LGBT+ victims, survivors and perpetrators of domestic abuse
  • LGBT+ victims and survivors are experiencing high levels of risk and complex needs before they access support
  • LGBT+ victims and survivors need support tailored to their needs and circumstances
  • A victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity can sometimes be targeted as part of the abuse
  • Societal attitudes and lack of inclusion are preventing LGBT+ victims and survivors from accessing the support they need to get safe and recover, and mean we aren’t identifying and stopping perpetrators at the earliest opportunity


Further research and reading