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More specialist support for LGBT+ victims of domestic abuse needed: Domestic Abuse Commissioner

The Domestic Abuse Commissioner has launched a new report produced by the charity Galop which shows the need for more specialist support for LGBT+ victims of domestic abuse.

The report finds:

• There are a small number of LGBT+ domestic abuse services; most are victim support services based in London.

• LGBT+ domestic abuse support is largely provided by LGBT+ 'by and for' organisations with a domestic abuse service.

• On a lesser scale, LGBT+ specialist support also exists within VAWG and generic domestic abuse organisations.

• No funded LGBT+ 'by and for' domestic abuse services exist in the South West and North East of England, or in Wales.

• There are no LGBT+ specific services for LGB+ and or T+ perpetrators and/or perpetrator programmes.

• There is a lack of emergency accommodation/ housing services for LGB+ and/or T+ people, in particular GB+ and/or T+ men.

• There is a lack of service provision for LGB+ and or T+ children and young people outside of London.

• LGBT+ 'by and for' domestic abuse services often work outside of their geographical remit and beyond their capacity to meet the demand.

• On average, LGBT+ domestic abuse services are small, with just one or two staff members employed.

• There are currently 3.5 FTE LGBT+ IDVAs based in 4 services: Galop, LGBT Foundation, RISE and LGBT Birmingham.

• Most services have no main source of funding. The management of multiple funders is an extra set of pressures for the LGBT+ specialist domestic abuse sector.

• VAWG and domestic abuse organisations providing a specialist LGBT+ service are less likely to adopt key indicators for LGBT+ inclusion relevant to the needs of non-binary and/or trans+ service users.

• Partnership working appears to be underdeveloped; only a small number of services indicate referral pathways to their local MARAC suggesting that most others are not embedded in their local 'coordinated community response' to domestic abuse.

• Two 'by and for' LGBT+ organisations are not funded to provide support for domestic abuse, but continue to deliver this work due to demand.

The report recommends:

• Increase and make long-term funding available for LGBT+ 'by and for' domestic abuse services. For example, Safelives' Safe Fund report recommends that £10 million would be needed to ensure full provision for LGBT+ victims and survivors of domestic abuse across England and Wales.

• Recognise that LGBT+ specialist domestic abuse services need time for recruitment and training, planning, and supervision to provide meaningful services.

• Ensure sustainable funding to ensure both continued implementation of services and continued support for those programs once they are implemented.

• Develop specific measures to ensure there is sustainable and accessible support for high-risk LGBT+ victims and survivors, including IDVA advocacy and refuge provision wherever they live. This should mean both an increase in the geographical coverage of specialist LGBT+ provision, and an increase in the capacity of existing services to meet local need.

• Develop specific services/programmes for LGBT+ perpetrators.

• Increase emergency accommodation and housing programs/provision for LGBT+ people and in particular for GBT+ men and non-binary people.

• Increase training opportunities to further build/develop the capacities of practitioners  supporting LGBT+ victims and survivors (including training on terminology and monitoring for sexual orientation and gender identities).

• Training packages should be designed and delivered by specialist LGBT+ domestic abuse services or experts.

• LGBT+ specialist training should be a requirement for all staff working with victims and survivors of domestic abuse and be embedded in available funding pots to allow organisations and services to work with external experts.

• Promote and increase opportunities for partnership working with other relevant voluntary and statutory services to improve the support for multiple and complex needs of LGBT+ victims and survivors.

• Encourage VAWG and domestic abuse organisations to establish close links with specialist LGBT+ domestic abuse services, to be able to signpost and make informed referrals.

• Increase opportunities for LGBT+ 'by and for' domestic abuse services to develop referral pathways to their local MARAC and to become embedded in their local Coordinated Community Response to domestic abuse.

• Provide funding for an independent evaluation of services for LGBT+ victims and survivors, to underpin the development of a framework of quality standards and best practice for the delivery of quality service.

For the report, click here.