For LGBT Community

Partner Violence in the LGBT community

Many people think about partner violence (PV) as occurring only in partners of the opposite gender. Less understood is the occurrence of PV among partners of the same sex. Partner violence occurs in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered (LGBT) community at similar rates as in the community-at-large. Partner violence among LGBT couples occurs regardless of the race, ethnicity, class, age, education level or occupation of the victims and perpetrators—as is also the case in heterosexual partner violence.

However, victims of same-sex partner violence may face added challenges, over and above the many challenges experienced by victims of heterosexual partner violence, when attempting to access help.

We know that:

  • About one in four same-sex relationships have experienced PV
  • About one in four heterosexual women experience PV in their lifetime
  • Straight and gay victims experience similar patterns of abuse, with some notable differences
Two men with their arms around each other and their backs to the camera

Characteristics common in PV in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships:

  • A cycle of physical, emotional and psychological mistreatment may occur, where the perpetrator uses isolation, fear and guilt to manipulate the victim
  • Perpetrators often have experienced violence as a child
  • Occurs regardless of education, race, religion or socioeconomic status
  • Perpetrators use threats to keep their victims silent

Distinctive differences in same-sex relationships:

  • Gay or lesbian batterers may threaten to "out" their victims to work colleagues, family or friends
  • Lesbian and gay victims may be less likely to report abuse to legal authorities
  • Gay and lesbian victims may be more reluctant to seek help out of fear that the society will perceive same-sex relationships as inherently dysfunctional
  • Gay and lesbian victims may be more likely to fight back than heterosexual women

Resources for LGBT Community...