Broken Rainbow the national LGBT Domestic Violence charity has worked with nearly 42,000 individuals in the 13 years since its conception. In 2014 we took over seven and a half thousand calls for help and this year we are on track to hit the ten thousand mark.
Much has changed since the days when all we had was a mobile phone, shared amongst a group of friends who wanted to offer help. Sadly, the types of abuse played out in LGBT relationships haven’t changed and the demand for Broken Rainbow’s help has increased.
We believe that one in four LGB and four in five Trans individuals will be affected by domestic violence in their lifetime, from an intimate partner or family member.
This year we have had increased contact from gay men living with HIV, civil partners with no asylum status frightened they will be deported if they report their abusive partner, lesbian and gay men and women being forced in to marriage, lesbians enduring corrective rape, and young LGBT people experiencing abuse in their first relationships.
We know this is only the tip of the iceberg and that iceberg just keeps growing. Over the years we have faced continued cuts in our funding head-on. Somehow, we have not only continued offering services, but provided more; extending hours on the helpline, introducing online chat, and recruiting a specialist LGBT Independent Domestic Violence Advisor.
This year we are facing our biggest challenge yet, up to 40% cuts in government funds following the public spending review. This may be one challenge too many. Realistically, we will need to severely reduce the level of support we offer. At a time when the community needs us the most.
The biggest barrier anyone faces is having to ‘out’ themselves in order to gain help and for many that is an impossible act, particularly if they’ve spent years with someone who uses their sexual orientation or gender identity as a weapon. LGBT victims more often than not find themselves staying at home with their abusive partners and facing escalation in the abuse.
That's why it is so important that we are there to take that call, be supportive, and give a voice to the thousands of invisible victims we have contact with every year.
There really is No Pride in Domestic Violence.
Jo Harvey Barringer is CEO of Broken Rainbow
Broken Rainbow helpline: 0300 999 5428, 10am – 8pm Mon & Thursday, 10am – 5pm Tuesday & Thursday, 1-5pm Friday. Trans service Tuesday pm.
Online Chat via website: www.brokenrainbow.org.uk, 2-10pm daily