Barriers for LBGTIQ Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault

  • Small, tight-knit communities make it difficult for most LBGTIQ victims to feel safe from their abusers if they want to leave. Fear of loss of friends or not being believed adds to the isolation.
  • Fear of being outed.
  • Fear of facing homophobia by police, shelter staff, and the criminal justice system.
  • Fear of being arrested in states where same-gender sexual acts are criminalized under sodomy laws.
  • Fear of losing children, either due to homophobia or transphobia by custody workers or child protection agencies, or due to lack of legal rights to a child that would normally be afforded if the victim were the opposite gender of their partner.
  • Fear of the assailant facing homophobia by the police or in jail (usually victims do not want their assailants to be hurt, they just want the abuse to stop).
  • Fear of being mistaken for the assailant by police and/or shelter staff, or fear of being arrested along with the assailant because the police believe it must be mutual abuse, because DV and SA occur only between people of the opposite gender.
  • Not knowing what services are available to them because there is a lack of information in the community that DV and SA occur in LBGTIQ relationships as well, and most service providers do not do specific outreach to LBGTIQ victims.
  • Lack of DV & SA services available to gay and bisexual males and transgender people.
  • Transgender people may fear being treated like a freak and of putting themselves at risk of physical harm if they seek services outside of the transgender community, since they are at greater risk of being victims of hate crimes.
  • Fear and guilt of giving the heterosexual community more ammunition against the LBGTIQ community by bringing DV and SA in the LBGTIQ community to the surface.
  • Fear of having HIV+/AIDS status revealed.
  • Inability to obtain a Personal Protection Order (PPO) because of same-gender relationship. Even in states that have added gender-neutral language, it does not mean that all victims are aware of the current laws and it also does not mean that the new laws are being enforced.
  • Inability in some states to press full DV or SA charges for same-gender survivors, therefore having to file lesser charges which means the assailant will have less consequences.
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