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Manchester Police will start monitoring LGBT domestic abuse cases

Meka Beresford June 2, 2016

The Greater Manchester Police will become the first police force in the UK to introduce an official way to record domestic violence in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transsexual households.

GMP are trialling the new system, in the City of Manchester borough, starting next week for 6 months. They hope that by introducing a new code for officers to report domestic violence between LGBT couples they will manage to solve under reported crime figures.

The force hopes that by introducing the scheme they will be able to begin to understand patterns of violence in LGBT households and act accordingly to tackle the issue.

If the trial proves successful then the system will be rolled out across the whole city. Affiliates of the campaign hope that other police forces around the country will follow suit.

Detective Chief Superintendent Vanessa Jardine said: “We have worked long and hard alongside organisations like Broken Rainbow and the LGBT Foundation to introduce this code and show the LGBT community that we will continue to tackle domestic abuse.

“This is another strong step in the right direction in dispelling some myths and gives people the confidence to report crimes in the knowledge that it will be dealt with appropriately – we want to encourage victims and friends and family of victims to report the issue and have the confidence to come forward.”

Right now there are no accurate statistics available to charities like Broken Rainbow who are dedicated to combating domestic violence in LGBT relationships. However, the charity estimates that around 4 in 5 trans and 1 in 4 LGB relationships involve domestic abuse.

The nature of the abuse people encounter in LGBT relationships is different. Hormone and HIV medication can be withheld, and abusive partners can often threaten to out their significant others.

Broken Rainbow and the LGBT foundation have been working in conjunction with the force to provide training for over 200 officers.

Emma Baldry at Broken Rainbow said: “I was incredibly proud to be able to deliver this important training and was really encouraged by the positive comments and input from the officers taking part.

“I’m confident that having this code in place will give us all a truer reflection of reporting of domestic abuse within LGBT relationships.

“Prior to the new coding being introduced, national statistics gathered on reports filed do not record sexual orientation. We believe that 1 in 4 for LGB relationships, and 4 in 5 Trans relationships involves domestic abuse.

“This new code will enable Greater Manchester Police to collect data that will give us a more accurate picture of the extent of LGBT domestic abuse in the Greater Manchester area.

“This will help us to strengthen our partnership with GMP in supporting the LGBT community and hopefully other forces across the UK will follow their lead.”

Greater Manchester Mayor and Police and Crime Commissioner Tony Lloyd said: “This is another positive step towards breaking the stigma of domestic abuse and will help to give us a clearer picture of the issue within the LGBT community. This should bring hope to the many silent victims of abuse and encourage more people to come forward, confident that help and support is available.”

Lord Mayor of Manchester Councillor Carl Austin-Behan, said: “This is a huge step forward for British policing, and Greater Manchester Police is demonstrating real leadership by being the first force in the country to identify LGBT domestic abuse and violence.

“All communities are affected by domestic abuse and violence and sadly the LGBT community is no exception. This will give confidence to LGBT people in abusive relationships, or who know someone who is, that if they come forward they will be taken seriously and treated with dignity and respect.

“Too many LGBT victims of domestic abuse suffer in silence, and don’t know where to turn. This important development will encourage more to speak out.”

Jessica White at the LGBT Foundation said: “A quarter of LGBT people in the UK will experience domestic abuse at some point in their lives. Unfortunately, many LGBT people remain afraid to report their victimisation or access support. This means that far too often, LGBT victims of domestic abuse will suffer prolonged abuse in silence.

“We hope that the additional training given to GMP on supporting LGBT victims of domestic abuse, as well as the new code for recording LGBT domestic abuse will enable GMP to provide a more effective response to LGBT victims of domestic abuse. This will help LGBT victims of domestic abuse to have the confidence to report their abuse, and to get the support they need.”

Manchester has also just sworn in its first openly gay Lord Mayor, who was previously named Mr Gay UK.

More: Broken Rainbow, domestic violence, LGBT, LGBT Foundation, Manchester, Manchester police, Queer

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