Our IDVA Anna Robottom shares some of her thoughts around the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and how we can support Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Women in our communities.
November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. I believe it is incredibly important that as both individuals and organisations we continue to stand together in recognition of this day; in England and Wales alone over two women are killed by a partner or ex-partner every single week, and violence against women and girls continues to impact one in three women around the world. This simply has to change, and until it does it is important we keep on speaking up about it, both for ourselves and for those for whom speaking up is not an option. For more information about the day itself, and to see how you can get involved in the 16 days of activism which follows in the run up to World Human Rights Day on December 10th, you can visit some of the following websites:
I strongly believe in the need to recognise the gendered nature of domestic abuse, at the same time as supporting specialise LGBT services, so my aim here is to both support the campaign, and consider the impact of domestic abuse on Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Women living in Birmingham.
Research suggests that around one in four lesbian women will experience domestic violence / abuse in their lifetime, and our own local research, ‘Out and About: Mapping LGBT Lives in Birmingham’, found that 33% of lesbian respondents, 35% of bisexual respondents, and 35% of transgender respondents had experienced abuse. This abuse can take place in many ways; including abuse from a same sex partner or ex-partner, abuse from within a heterosexual relationship within which one partner identifies as LGBT, either openly or in secret, or where a woman may face so called ‘Honour’ Based Violence from her family and community.
Whatever the situation, the LGBT IDVA service at Birmingham LGBT is here to help, but so far we have seen fewer numbers of lesbian, bi or trans women access the service than we have gay men. This means that there will be many women in Birmingham and the surrounding areas currently experiencing abuse from a partner, ex-partner or family member, who are not yet accessing support. Some may not currently be in a position to reach out, but for others it may be the case that they do not realise their experiences count as domestic violence, or that they do not realise that there is now specialist support available for them to access.
For this reason we are using November as a month to spread awareness both about LGBT domestic violence, and about the service we provide here at Birmingham LGBT. You may have noticed our billboard up on Sherlock Street, our posters on the number 50 buses, and our advert in Zone Magazine. The more conversations that we can have about this issue the more likely it is that someone experiencing abuse may find about, and benefit from the service. That’s where you all come in – if you can take just two minutes this month to share one of our tweets, start a conversation, or tell someone about the service this could potentially save a life.
If you or someone that you know identify as LGBT, are aged 16+, and living in the Birmingham area, you can contact Birmingham LGBT on 0121 643 0821. Additional support numbers listed below.
If you are a professional and would like more information, leaflets for your service, or to discuss the possibility of arranging a talk at a team meeting or a training session, please also call on the number above.
Birmingham LGBT – 0121 643 0821
Gallop UK – National LGBT Domestic Abuse Helpline – 0300 999 5428 / 0800 999 5428
Women’s Aid and Refuge 24 hour Freephone Helpline – 0808 2000 247
Respect Men’s Advice Line – 0808 801 0327
In an emergency call 999