Huge lack of specialist support for LGBT+ victims

LGBT+ domestic abuse victims are being let down by a lack of specialist support, new report finds

  • There is a huge lack of specialist support for LGBT+ victims of domestic abuse across England and Wales
  • Out of 803 full time frontline domestic abuse support workers (known as IDVAs) there are only 3.5 that are LGBT+ specialists
  • 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.
  • The Domestic Abuse Commissioner is calling for a dedicated funding pot of £262.9m for specialist ‘by and for’ services including for LGBT+ survivors

There are only 3.5 full time specialist frontline domestic abuse support workers for LGBT+ victims in England and Wales out of a total of 803, according to a new report.

The report commissioned by the Domestic Abuse Commissioner also found that there were no funded LGBT+ ‘by and for’ domestic abuse services across the South West, North East of England and Wales. ‘By and for’ services are those provided by and for the community they serve. 

The report by Galop, the national LGBT+ anti-abuse charity and Durham University was commissioned by Nicole Jacobs to look at the provision of specialist support for LGBT+ victims and survivors of domestic abuse and to identify gaps.

“Having worked alongside GALOP specialist services in central London, I have seen for myself the benefit of specific services for LGBT+ survivors.  I have also seen how difficult it is for these services to gain or maintain funding but this mapping paints a shocking picture,” said Nicole Jacobs, the Domestic Abuse Commissioner.


“Not only are there just 3.5 full time specialist Independent Domestic Violence Advocates (IDVAs) for LGBT+ victims out of a total of 803 IDVAs, but there is no funded support at all in large swathes of England and the whole of Wales,” she added.

The report out today also found that 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.

We know from research that many LGBT+ survivors of domestic abuse face significant barriers in accessing support for many reasons including concerns about facing discrimination or disclosing their gender identity or sexual orientation.

Specialist LGBT+ support means that frontline workers are better able to understand and relate to victims needs because they have a better appreciation of the issues and barriers they face.

The Domestic Abuse Commissioner is calling on the Government to create a dedicated pot of funding of £262.9m for a range of specialist ‘by and for’ services which would include specialist support for LGBT+ domestic abuse victims.

This funding pot would be for a broad number of ‘by and for’ support which would fund services which have been set up by and for particular groups including LGBT+ communities across England Wales.

Ms Jacobs said: “We must ensure there is sustainable and accessible support for LGBT+ victims and survivors, including IDVA advocacy and refuge provision wherever they live. It is vital that LGBT+ people can access specialist support that truly understands their lived experience of domestic abuse and can provide a wide range of holistic support that meets their needs.

“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.”

She added that it was time that specific services/programmes were designed for LGBT+ perpetrators.

Amy Roach, Galop’s Director of Services, said: “In many parts of the country LGBT+ survivors are not able to access the specialist support that they need and deserve. It is vital that there is a commitment to dedicated national funding from the Government to ensure that LGBT+ survivors can access specialist services.”

Notes to Editors:

  1. Galop

Galop is the national LGBT+ anti-abuse charity. Founded in 1982, we have been championing the needs and safety of the LGBT+ community for nearly 40 years. Galop works directly with thousands of LGBT+ people who have experienced abuse and violence every year. We specialise in supporting victims and survivors of domestic abuse, sexual violence, hate crime, and other forms of abuse including honour-based abuse, forced marriage, and so-called conversion therapies. We are a service run by LGBT+ people, for LGBT+ people, and the needs of our community are at the centre of what we do.

  1. The Domestic Abuse Commissioner

The Domestic Abuse Commissioner is an independent voice that speaks on behalf of victims and survivors. The Commissioner will use her statutory powers, which are set out in the Domestic Abuse Bill, to raise public awareness and hold both agencies and government to account in tackling domestic abuse. The Domestic Abuse Bill will give her specific powers which will enable her to fulfil this role, and places legal duties on public sector bodies to cooperate with her and to respond to any recommendations that she makes to them. This will enable the Commissioner to really drive forward change, and hold local agencies and national government to account for their role in responding to domestic abuse

  1. ‘By and for’

By and for services means services that are run by the community that they are designed for.

  1. About this report: LGBT+ Domestic Abuse Service Provision Mapping Study

Due to limited participation and a small, self-selected sample, we would like to acknowledge that this is mapping is not comprehensive; there might be other organisations across England and Wales that identify as LGBT+ ‘by and for’ domestic abuse services/organisations or other VAWG or domestic abuse organisations who provide specialist support to LGBT+ victims and survivors of domestic abuse. The services being delivered may also have changed since the survey was undertaken due to funding, staffing or organisational changes. For this reason, we suggest the data outlined in this report is used for indicative comparisons across LGBT+, domestic abuse and VAWG sectors. It can also serve as a form of baseline against which future progress in this area can be assessed

  1. What is an IDVA?

An Idva is a specialist professional who works with a victim of domestic abuse to develop a trusting relationship. They can help a victim with everything they need to become safe and rebuild their life, and represent their voice  at a Multi-agency Risk Assessment Conference (Marac), as well as helping them to navigate the criminal justice process and working with the different statutory agencies to provide wraparound support. What is an Idva? | Safelives