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Domestic violence proposals ‘must cover same-sex relationships’

Jessica Geen March 10, 2009
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Domestic abuse campaigners have said that plans for a new consultation on the issue must take into account abuse in same-sex relationships.

According to figures, one in four LGBT people will experience domestic violence or abuse.

The consultation, announced yesterday by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, includes a national register containing the details of abusive partners is at the forefront of a new government consultation to tackle domestic violence.

Other plans include a review into police powers for dealing with serial perpetrators of domestic violence and a review of the sexualisation of teenage girls.

Same-sex domestic abuse charity Broken Rainbow has said that that discussion on the issue is “already infrequent”.

A spokeswoman said: “Domestic violence is an issue suffered by all, regardless of race, religion, gender and sexuality. It’s a human condition.

We’ll be starting a campaign for people to contact their local MPs and ask them to either raise the point in the House or to at least get this consistent issue on the table for further discussion.”

According to the charity, LGBT people face different barriers in reporting domestic abuse. Many do not report abuse to the police for fear of not being believed or having to out themselves.

Rita Hirani, Broken Rainbow’s interim chief executive said: “In theory, it’s a good idea. However, we need to tread with caution with same-sex domestic violence due to the problems professionals have identifying the primary perpetrator.

“We still get reports of the wrong person being arresting because of stereotypical views on same-sex relationships. So, unless the register was accompanied by UK wide training then there will be real problems for LGBT people.”

Derek Munn, Stonewall’s director of public affairs, commented: “Stonewall’s Prescription for Change report shows that one in four lesbian and bisexual women have experienced domestic violence and four in five have not reported these incidents to the police.

“We look forward to these new proposals being developed to ensure people who are at risk from domestic violence in same sex relationships are adequately protected.”

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