LGBT+ domestic abuse


Domestic abuse is when someone you know tries to control your life – a partner, ex-partner or family member.

It is often about power and control, and domestic abuse can cause fear, physical injuries, emotional and psychological harm.


All forms of domestic abuse are wrong and the abuse and its consequences are the responsibility of the person committing the abuse. It is not your fault.

Please remember that domestic abuse is a crime.


such as name calling, humiliation, threats to commit violence against you, children, family members, animals or friends, and threats to commit suicide and hold you accountable for this. Threats to or actually ‘out you’ in terms of being LGBT+, or may use your health status such as mental health or HIV against you.


being deliberately isolated by an abuser who may control who you can and can not see, monitor your movements and contact with ‘family’ and friends by accessing texts, emails, social media accounts or listening to phone calls. They may try to cause fights with your family/friends or prevent them from visiting. You may be restricted from engaging with or taking part in LGBT+ or other community events.


an abuser may take control of all the income and withdraw or threaten to withdraw financial support. You may be forced to put debt in your name, be made to explain all spending, have money stolen from you, or be denied access to your own money. Being forced to commit fraud is also a type of financial abuse.


this includes rape, sexual assault, being forced to do anything you are uncomfortable with including your partner refusing to practice safe sex, ignoring agreed boundaries around sexual behaviour or being forced to watch sexual degradation of others.


this covers a range of behaviours that causes you, or threatens you with harm and includes punching, slapping, hair-pulling, strangling, kicking, being locked in confined spaces, using or threatening to use weapons like knives, guns or other objects. It may be that another adult or child is harmed instead of you with the aim of causing you emotional distress.


this type of abuse may begin once a relationship is over but can occur whilst still in a relationship. It includes intimidation or harassment via constant phone calls, texts or emails, being given unwanted gifts/letters, having your home or car broken into, following, loitering outside home, work or social settings.


Whilst there are some similarities between LGBT+ and heterosexual domestic abuse, such as the prevalence rates and the kinds of abuse perpetrated/experienced, there are some key differences. These are outlined below and in the “LGBT+ Wheel of abuse”:


Society at large and services generally operate on the assumption that everyone is heterosexual and this creates stress for LGBT+ individuals since it can limit access to support services.


There are many LGBT+ people who, for various reasons, are not able to be open about their sexual orientation and their same sex relationships or their gender identity. This limits their ability to reach out to friends, colleagues, GP or their family for support when they are in a domestic abusive relationship.


Perpetrators can use this against their partners and threaten to ‘out’ them to their family, employers, work colleagues etc. This is a very powerful tool.


This limits access to support services and also means that LGBT+ people are unable to gain an equitable service. It can also mean that individuals are cut off from their friends and family, which has a negative impact on the support available to them. Bisexual, trans and intersex people in same sex relationships may also experience this kind of discrimination.

Many LGBT+ people have grown up with negative messages about being LGBT+ and this can have an enormous effect on individuals and can create a deep sense of shame about sexual identity. This in turn has an impact on developing and maintaining healthy relationships. Perpetrators can use this as a form of abuse against their partner by creating the impression that if they were to seek help from services, then those services will discriminate against them because of being LGBT+.


Society at large and services generally operate on the assumption that everyone is cisgender and this creates stress for transgender individuals since it can limit access to support services. Cissexism also controls whether trans people come ‘out’.


Perpetrators use these to hide the domestic abuse and to increase their power and control by persuading their partner that the behaviour is not domestic abuse but an expression of ‘masculinity’ or that lesbians do not carry out domestic abuse because ‘women are not violent’. This is particularly powerful when the LGBT+ person is in their first same sex relationship.


Telling a partner that they are not a ‘real’ lesbian or gay man because they have been in a relationship and/or sexually active with someone from the opposite sex, have friends of the opposite sex, have had children, or that they prefer certain sexual practices/behaviours.

Telling a partner that they are not really trans, especially if they have come out as trans later in life. The other partner can sometimes feel worried and threatened by this new information and seek to undermine the ‘coming out’ process by implying that they need more time, or that family or friends won’t accept the fact, or by stating that it will harm the children, etc.

Telling a non-binary person that they are making up their identity, that people will not accept using their correct pronouns (e.g. if they use they/them/their), that they are really the gender they were assigned at birth.

Perpetrators can also convince their partners that the abusive behaviour is normal and that they do not understand LGBT+ relationships. Again, these are particularly powerful when the LGBT+ person is in their first same sex relationship.


Deciding to leave an abusive relationship takes a lot of courage and can be physically dangerous and emotionally difficult. Think ahead – you may have to leave quickly, so make a plan and get support to help you leave safely.

Here are some important things to think about:

  • Save some money – keep it separate and make sure you have a bank/cash card.
  • Find out the nearest place that you could go to for safety such as a friend, family member or an organisation.
  • Have your own mobile phone and also keep a list of emergency numbers with you – friends, family, services.
  • Keep together all important things you may need to take with you: documents for yourself and children such as passport, driving licence, birth certificate, benefit book, bank details, medical cards and medicines. Spare house and car keys.
  • If you have children try to take them with you or get them to a place of safety.
  • Once you are safe, try not to reveal your whereabouts, particularly on social media.

Remember, you are not alone – there are organisations that can help.

If you feel you are in immediate danger do not hesitate, call the police on 999. The police non-urgent number is 101.



has an LGBT+ domestic abuse helpline: 0800 999 5428


National Domestic Abuse Helpline

Confidential 24 hour helpline for anyone

Helpline: 0808 2000 247


Child Line

Confidential helpline for children & young people including LGBT support.

Freephone: 0800 11 11


Press for Change

Confidential advice and support for trans people, their partners, families and carers.

Helpline: 08448 708 165 (Thursdays guaranteed answer)


Men’s Advice Lines

Help & support for male victims of domestic abuse.

Helpline: 0808 801 0327


Women’s Aid Integrated Services

Provides full range of support around domestic abuse

Tel: 0115 822 1777

Helpline: 0808 800 0340


The Health Shop

Provides support to LGBT+ people experiencing domestic violence/sexual assault and will advocate and support access to domestic and sexual violence services within Nottingham: 12, Broad Street, Nottingham

Tel: 0115 9055 001


Nottingham Women’s Centre

Provides a range of services and support to women only.

Tel: 0115 941 1475



Provides Information for survivors of domestic violence about where to go for help. Direct practical and emotional support to men experiencing domestic abuse.

Tel: 0115 9623 237


Refs for Pets

This charity can find a temporary home for your pets while you are living in temporary accommodation.

Tel: 07971 337 264

Rainbow bar