Broken Rainbow, the LGBT domestic violence service, has said that few refuges have adequate provisions for LGBT people.

The organisation claims that gay service users experience homophobia and transphobia, and in some cases, this allows their abuser to gain access to them and further assault them.

Jo Barringer, Chair of Broken Rainbow, said:

“Lesbians often find that the services set in place for women have no understanding of their cultural needs.

“This leads to lesbian needs often being looked over, not taken seriously or grouped in with other heterosexual women where they might experience homophobia.

“Trans women often find that this situation is intensified, with some being turned away from refugees as they do not fit their criteria of a woman; or the refuge not having any concept of the multi-faceted issues that they are dealing with.”

Denise Anderson of Spectrum London, a support group for transgender people, agreed with this point. She said:

“If a trans-woman was to turn up at a women’s refuge they would have no procedures in place to deal with her or to be able to deal with other women’s possible discomfort with her being there.”

Rita Hirani, an LGBT domestic violence trainer, said:

“LGBT people deserve equal protection through refuge space, and Broken Rainbow is seeking to achieve this by continuing to research and educate service providers and others on these issues, and by supporting victims via their helpline.”

Broken Rainbow LGBT domestic violence service (UK) are a registered charity in the UK: Charity no: 1103624

Broken Rainbow’s helpline runs: Monday 2-8pm, Wed 10-1, Thursday, 2-8pm, on 08452 60 44 60