Members of the LGBT community are more than twice as likely to have experienced domestic abuse in the past year compared to those in heterosexual relationships, the charity Broken Rainbow has said.

Domestic violence and abuse in the LGBT community is an issue rarely highlighted, with many victims too afraid to speak out, but the charity says it’s on the rise.

When questioned, 45% of LGBT respondents from the 2013 ROAR study on domestic violence and abuse said that they didn’t seek help for fear that they wouldn’t be taken seriously.

To raise awareness of this growing issue and to let people know that help is available, the UK’s only LGBT domestic violence charity, Broken Rainbow, has launched its first ever awareness campaign.

Liberal Democrat peer Lord Brian Paddick, former Met police Deputy Assistant Commissioner,  is supporting the campaign.

Speaking about his own experiences of domestic violence he said: “I didn’t go to the police because I didn’t want to be open about my sexuality and the type of relationship I was in. I was too embarrassed. We need to be more open about this so that people in abusive relationships realise they are not alone.”

Lord Paddick says services such as Broken Rainbow’s helpline are vital for those in the LGBT community who often face coercive control, emotional or physical abuse at the hand of their partners.

“Unacceptable behaviour in a domestic abuse setting can and tragically does escalate to violence. Despite the research, the experience and the good work by some police forces, there is little the police can do to combat emotional abuse. Broken Rainbow’s helpline offers a place where those who feel they have no where to turn can confide and find support.”

Last year, over 4,000 calls were made to Broken Rainbow’s helpline.

The charity’s interim Managing Director Jo Harvey Barringer said: “Over the past 10 years Broken Rainbow has received more than 25,000 calls from members of the LGBT community in distress, with the number of calls continuing to have an upward trend.”