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LGBTQ+ relationships and domestic abuse

View profile for Karen Johnson
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LGBTQ+ relationships and domestic abuse

Domestic Abuse is never ok and has no place in a healthy relationship. The Domestic Abuse Act 2021 which was given Royal Asset in April this year provided a new definition of domestic abuse as follows;

Behaviour of a person (“A”) towards another person (“B”) is “domestic abuse” if—

a) A and B are each aged 16 or over and are personally connected to each other, and

b) the behaviour is abusive.

Behaviour is “abusive” if it consists of any of the following

(a) physical or sexual abuse;

(b) violent or threatening behaviour;

(c) controlling or coercive behaviour;

(d) economic abuse;

(e) psychological, emotional or other abuse; and it does not matter whether the behaviour consists of a single incident or a course of conduct.

What does personally connected mean?

People are considered personally connected if;

  • they are, or have been married to each other
  • they are, or have been, civil partners of each other
  • they have agreed to marry one another (whether or not the agreement has been terminated)
  • they have entered into a civil partnership agreement (whether or not the agreement has been terminated)
  • they are, or have been, in an intimate personal relationship with each other
  • they each have, or 
  • there has been a time when they each have had, a parental relationship in relation to the same child or they are relatives.

Sadly, surveys have found that those who identify as LGBTQ+ can be at increased risk of experiencing forms of domestic abuse within their relationship. 

There are also particular types of abuse which are more particular to LGBTQ+ relationships. 

Psychological abuse 

These might include threats to disclose sexual orientation, gender identification or HIV status to friends, family or employers.

Sexual abuse 

This might include rape or sexual assault or taking intimate pictures and then sharing or threatening to share these without permission. 

Emotional abuse 

Might include controlling or monitoring whereabouts limiting access to support networks, name calling, refusal to use preferred pronouns, verbal abuse, undermining self-esteem or sexuality, humiliation, threats of suicide or self- harm.

Seeking help when experiencing abuse

For those experiencing abuse, it can be difficult to seek help. They can experience both structural and cultural barriers that result in services being less accessible and their own perception of the support system and of themselves, the abuse and their relationship may also hinder their seeking help. 

When seeking help, it is a good idea to instruct a solicitor such as myself who understands the distinct experience of LGBTQ+ abuse. They will know to avoid the trap of relying on stereotypes and myths which minimise and discredit the truth and have an awareness of the spectrum of sexual and gender identities.

A family solicitor can help address issues such as divorce and dissolving a civil partnership as well as any financial issues arising or disagreement regarding the arrangements for any children. We can also assist with practical advice and protective injunctions such as non-molestation and occupation orders.

If you or someone you care about are experiencing domestic abuse and need advice and support, then I can be contacted on 01206 217305 or email me at