LGBTQ+ charities report spike in cases of domestic violence during lockdown

In a BBC report, two queer people open up about surviving domestic violence, the lack of response from the police, and the need for LGBTQ+ support services.

LGBTQ domestic violence
Image: BBC

UK based charities have reported a spike in LGBTQ+ people reporting cases of domestic violence across 2020. 

According to a BBC report, LGBTQ+ focused domestic violence support services are noticing a rise in cases compared to other years. A queer homelessness charity Stonewall Housewall also stated the number of people it helped in the first month of lockdown was 82% higher than the same time last year. 

LGBTQ+ anti-violence charity and only domestic abuse helpline for queer people in the UK, GALOP, reported that calls almost doubled from the first lockdown. Speaking with journalist Ben Hunte, two individuals opened up about their experiences and the need for further support services. 

Under the pseudonym Zac, one gay man told BBC News about how his partner grew more violent during lockdown. He said, “One night I was just getting in the shower and he stormed in, tore the shower rail off the wall, held me under the hot water, and started screaming in my face.”

Although Zac reported the attack to the police, he never heard back from the authorities two months later. He stated, “Initially the police said, “we will come and see you and we’ll be there in an hour”. But I waited an hour and the police weren’t there. Then I waited another four hours and they still hadn’t turned up.”

Zac began questioning whether the police viewed him “as being at risk” after waiting on their response for so long. He shared, “Because I’m gay, it’s taken me a while to realise I’m a domestic violence victim.”

In the BBC report, Surelle, a 28-year-old trans woman, also spoke openly about her experiences of being abused by a previous partner. After suffering from physical and emotional attacks, she was kicked out of her house with nowhere to go. 

Surelle shared, “My partner would shame me, choke me. He would jump on me, strangle me. He would spit at me, tell me I am disgusting. […] ‘[He said] “leave my house right now, you’ve got 15 minutes. This is it, this is your passport, you can go”. He shut the door behind me, and I just remember crying.”

While speaking with Hunte, Surelle questioned why LGBTQ+ focused support services for domestic violence were not visible. She said, “I still don’t know them to this day and I’ve been kind of doing it by myself alone.”

On April 30 2020, Shout Out released an overview of how COVID-19 has affected the LGBTQ+ community in Ireland. It reads, “Domestic abuse is on the rise in isolation (by approximately 30% in some locations), and LGBTQ+ people are already at higher risk from domestic abuse by partners and family members.

“While charities and service providers in the sector do remarkable work, Ireland lacks a dedicated LGBTQ+ domestic abuse support service and many are reluctant to contact a more general service for fear their problems will be misunderstood.”

Although Ireland has several support groups available for LGBTQ+ people, the lack of a dedicated service for queer people surviving domestic violence can be damaging. In 2017, the #mydoorsopen campaign released a video stating, “Over 300,000 people in Ireland have experienced severe abuse by a partner. Be there for the people you know.”

If you are affected by domestic violence or know someone who is, a full list of supportive organisations is available here

There are also numerous supports available to LGBTQ+ people, listed below, and many offer instant messaging support if you want to seek advice.

LGBT Helpline


Dublin Rape Crisis Centre


Pieta House 

Mental Health Ireland

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