Domestic violence in same-sex relationships

Domestic and family violence also happen in the LGBT community. It is hard to know the rate at which abuse occurs because of the lack of data, but most studies of DFV in the LGBT community show that it is a significant issue, so you are not alone if you are currently experiencing it. It is a myth that there is no violence in lesbian relationships because there is equality between partners, and that DV is more likely to occur in gay relationships because of a so-called male predilection for violence. DFV is about control, about one partner using a pattern of violence and abuse to control another through fear and intimidation. Thus many of the characteristics of DFV are the same as for the heterosexual community.

There are, however, some features of domestic violence that are specific to the nature of same-sex or transgender communities whose members often still face discrimination and prejudice. For example, an abuser might:

  • Threaten to ‘out’ their partner to their family, work colleagues, church community etc
  • Tell their partner that if they out them, they will lose custody of their children and never see the children again
  • Tell their partner that they will get no help from anybody because the police and court systems are homophobic and nobody cares what happens in same-sex relationships
  • Tell their partner that the abuse is not abuse, but instead a normal relationship between partners of the same-sex and they just don’t understand what a same-sex relationship is about.

If you would like to read more about domestic violence in the LGBT community, you can look up http://www.adfvc.unsw.edu.au/PDF%20files/Gay_Lesbian.pdf. See also our links tab for some websites that might be helpful for you if want to learn more about the issue and look for services that are specific to the LGBT community. But be assured that whatever the nature of your relationship, if it is characterized by violence and abuse, mainstream organisations and services like ours will help you however they can, just as they would any other client.