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Domestic violence occurs in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) community with the same amount of frequency and severity as in the heterosexual community, but due to a fear of discrimination or bias, most victims don’t seek help from the police, legal and court systems.  Here at HAVEN, we strive to serve all members of our community regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  

Did you know that experts believe that domestic violence occurs in the LGBT+ community with the same amount of frequency and severity as in the heterosexual community?  Society’s long history of oppression towards the LGBT+ community may prevent victims of domestic violence from seeking help from the police, or legal and court systems for fear of discrimination or bias, especially in rural communities.


That doesn't mean that you are alone, though.  HAVEN is proud to offer safe space to anyone in need of our services.


Types of abuse:

  • Physical: the threat of harm or any forceful physical behavior that intentionally or accidentally causes bodily harm or property destruction. 

  • Sexual: any forced or coerced sexual act or behavior motivated to acquire power and control over the partner. It is not only forced sexual contact but also contact that demeans or humiliates the partner and instigates feelings of shame or vulnerability – particularly in regards to the body, sexual performance or sexuality. 

  • Emotional/Verbal: any use of words, voice, action or lack of action meant to control, hurt or demean another person. Emotional abuse typically includes ridicule, intimidation or coercion. 

  • Financial: the use or misuse, without the victim’s consent, of the financial or other monetary resources of the partner or of the relationship. 

  • Identity Abuse: using personal characteristics to demean, manipulate and control the partner. Some of these tactics overlap with other forms of abuse, particularly emotional abuse. This category is comprised of the social “isms”, including racism, sexism, ageism, able-ism, beauty-ism, as well as homophobia. Includes threats to “out” victim

  • Transgender Abuse:  Specific forms of abuse occur in relationships where one partner is transgender, including: 

    • using offensive pronouns such as “it” to refer to the transgender partner

    • ridiculing the transgender partner’s body and/or appearance

    • telling the transgender partner that he or she is not a real man or woman

    • ridiculing the transgender partner’s identity as “bisexual,” “trans,” “femme,” “butch,” “gender queer,” etc.

    • denying the transgender partner’s access to medical treatment or hormones or coercing him or her to not pursue medical treatment


Barriers to seeking services:

  • The belief that domestic violence does not occur in LGBT+ relationships and/or is a gender-based issue

  • Societal anti-LGBT+ bias (homophobia, biphobia, and transphobia)

  • Lack of appropriate training regarding LGBT+ domestic violence for service providers.
    Note: All of HAVEN's staff is trained to handle LGBT+ issues.

  • A fear that airing of the problems among the LGBT+ population will take away from progress toward quality or fuel anti-LGBT+ bias. 

  • Domestic violence shelters are typically female only, thus transgender people may not be allowed entrance into shelters or emergency facilities due to their gender/genital/legal status.
    Note: HAVEN's shelters are available to LGBT+ individuals.


How HAVEN can help:

All of our resources and services are available to all members of our community, even those who identify as LGBT+.  This includes our shelter, advocacy, legal services, and more.  Our staff consists of well-trained, compassionate individuals of all backgrounds and identities, and that means that we're here for you.  Please contact HAVEN today!


Additional resources:



*Information above adapted from the NCADV Factsheet on LGBT+ Domestic Violence

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