The gay and bisexual community in Northern Ireland is suffering from disproportionate rates of domestic violence, an official report has claimed.
The paper, published this week by the Northern Ireland Policing Board, concluded that a high percentage of those experiencing domestic violence are gay or bisexual men and women.
It cited research suggesting one in four LGB people in the country have received physical abuse from a partner, which led to the PSNI revising its definition of domestic abuse to include LGB people.
One issue raised was a lack of understanding on the part of police officers The report cited the example of an officer who recorded an incident between a male couple as a bar brawl, rather than a case of domestic violence.
The report also urged sensitive, positive and supportive treatment of victims, as many anticipate prejudice from police.
John O’Doherty, equalities officer for gay and bisexual charity The Rainbow Project, said: “We welcome the report and we welcome the recognition of same-sex domestic violence. We are also pleased that the high level of same-sex domestic violence is being recognised.
“We look forward to working with the PSNI and Northern Ireland Policing Board to ensure the best possible service for gay domestic violence victims.”
Earlier this month, it was revealed that government plans for a new consultation on domestic violence in the UK will not cover abuse in same-sex relationships or violence suffered by men.
In 2007, 142 people died in domestic attacks, including 38 men.