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Domestic Abuse Within Same Sex Relationships


Abusive partners in LGBTQ+ relationships use the same tactics to gain power and control as abusive partners in heterosexual relationships.

Abusive partners in same sex relationships may reinforce their tactics that gain and maintain power and control with societal factors that compound the complexity a survivor faces in leaving or getting away safely from an LGBTQ+ relationship.

Some Men and Women in same sex relationships who are experiencing abuse are often afraid of revealing their sexual orientation or the nature of their relationship.

It can sometimes be difficult for LGBTQ+ people who are in abusive relationships to seek help because they may not want to disclose their sexuality to the police or other organisations.

Because of general homophobia or transphobia in societies many victims of domestic abuse may be concerned about giving gay and lesbian relationships a bad name and often many people refuse to speak up about the abuse they are suffering.

All too often, people who are in same sex relationships face discrimination, violence and persecution for who they are or for who they love.

It’s important to recall that nothing can ever explain, legitimise, or justify human rights violations which are universal and apply to all humans, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

When people do seek help services and organisations may misunderstand the situation as a fight between two men or two women rather than abuse or violence within intimate relationship.

Therefore people in same sex relationships may be discouraged from disclosing the sex of their partner if service providers use language which reflect heterosexual assumptions, for instance:

If a woman has not yet disclosed her partner’s sex, it’s inappropriate for someone to ask about her boyfriend or husband when referring to her partner. If her abuser is a woman she may feel like she can’t disclose the abuse or she may think that the abuse she is witnessing and suffering doesn’t count.

An example that doesn’t use gendered language or presume someone’s partner is a man or woman could be:

​- “At Rehouse to Rehome we have some routine questions that we ask all our clients/service users, as many of them are in relationships where they are afraid of their partners hurting them or afraid of challenging their partner. Have you ever felt or are you afraid of your partner?”

If you’re LGBTQ+ and in an abusive relationship, some additional obstacles you may face are:

Shame or Embarrassment:

You may be struggling with your own internalised homophobia or ashamed about your sexual orientation or gender-identity. Your abusive partner may attempt to use this shame to exert power and control over you. Abusive partners may try to make you feel guilty about yourself by calling you names that play on insecurities by saying “you’re not man enough” or pressuring you into sexual acts that you’re not comfortable with by saying that’s normal in your relationship.

Homophobia may play a role in causing domestic abuse in same sex relationships as well, also being a systemic issue as to why victims of same sex domestic abuse lack access to resources.

One way this occurs is through the fear of being “Outed”.

“Outing” (method of control):

An abusive partner may threaten to ‘out’ the victim to friends, family members religious communities, co workers, and others as a method of control.

An abuser may use the close-knit dynamic of the gay and lesbian community and the lack of support for LGBTQ + people outside of the community to further pressure the victim into compliance.

Fear of not being believed, understood or taken seriously:

You may worry that if you report the abuse, you will encounter common stereotypes like, violence between LGBTQ+ partners is always mutual or abuse doesn’t occur in same sex relationships. Your partner may exploit this fear and try to convince you that no one will take an LGBTQ+ victim seriously.

An abuser may try justifying the abuse with the notion that a partner is not lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (i.e. the victim may once have had/may still have relationships, or express a gender identity, inconsistent with the abuser’s definitions of these terms). This can also be used as a tool to verbally and emotionally abuse the victim, and to further the isolation of a victim from the community.

Fear of retaliation, harassment, rejection, violence or bullying:

If you have not yet disclosed your sexuality to everyone, your abusive partner may threaten to tell your secret to family members, friends or others. You may also fear that seeking help will make you a public target of ridicule, retaliation, harassment or bullying. Your abusive partner may work on or exploit these fears to isolate you and keep you in the relationship.

As part of the LGBTQ+ community you may be afraid that disclosing the abuse your suffering will make everyone else look bad. People have told us many partners have used this manipulative tactic to try guilt tripping a partner.

If a person has not revealed their sexuality, an abuser may tell them that they can’t report the abuse without breaking the trust of everyone in your group.

If this is happening to you contact us or one of our LGBTQ+ referrals. We’ll listen and we will help you to understand what’s happening and together we will work out a way for you to move forward to a life of happiness.

“At Rehouse to Rehome, we will always take you seriously and can connect you with others who’ll do the same”.

The Details

This government is committed to making the UK a country that works
for everyone. We want to strip away the barriers that hold people back so that everyone can go as far as their hard work and talent can take them.
The UK today is a diverse and tolerant society. We have made great strides in recent decades in our acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people, who make a vital contribution to our culture and to our economy.
This government has a proud record in advancing equality for LGBT people. From changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry to introducing Turing Pardons, we have been at the forefront of change. The UK has consistently been recognised as one of the best countries for LGBT rights in Europe.
Despite this progress, we cannot get complacent. We know that LGBT people continue to face significant barriers to full participation in public life. Your sexuality or your gender identity should not be a barrier to success.
In July 2017, we launched a survey to gather more information about the experiences of LGBT people in the UK. The survey response was unprecedented. Over 108,000 people participated, making it the largest national survey of LGBT people in the world to date.
Today we are publishing a detailed report on the headline findings. These focus on the experiences of LGBT people in the areas of safety, health, education and employment.

Although respondents were generally positive about the UK’s record on LGBT rights, some of the findings make for difficult reading:

• LGBT respondents are less satisfied with their life than the general UK population (rating satisfaction 6.5 on average out of 10 compared with 7.7). Trans respondents had particularly low scores (around 5.4 out of 10).

• More than two thirds of LGBT respondents said they avoid holding hands with a same-sex partner for fear of a negative reaction

from others.

• At least two in five respondents had experienced an incident because they were LGBT, such as verbal harassment or physical violence,

in the 12 months preceding the survey. However, more than nine in ten of the most serious incidents went unreported, often because respondents thought ‘it happens all the time’.

• 2% of respondents had undergone conversion or reparative therapy in an attempt to ‘cure’ them of being LGBT, and a further 5% had been offered it.

• 24% of respondents had accessed mental health services in the 12 months preceding the survey.

None of this is acceptable. Clearly, we have more to do. We have therefore published a comprehensive LGBT Action Plan that sets out what steps the government will take in response to the survey findings. This looks across the board at government services. We will also publish as much of the survey data as possible, so that stakeholders and researchers can make use of the findings.

Despite the progress we have made as a country, we should not be blind to the fact that LGBT people continue to face barriers to full participation in public life. We want to build a country that works for everyone, and that means tackling these burning injustices.

(Rt. Hon. Penny Mordaunt, Minister for Women and Equalities)

National LGBT Summary Report July 2018. 


Abusive partners in LGBTQ+ relationships will perpetrate the same actions and display the same tactics as Heterosexual partners to gain power and control in abusive relationships. Physical, Sexual, Emotional and Financial are the types of abuse that occur; which in turn gives them control and isolates the victim. 

Abusive partners in same sex relationships reinforce their power and control by using societal factors. Victims of abuse in a same sex relationship are often afraid of revealing their sexual orientation or the nature of their relationship and this will compound the complexity that a survivor will face when attempting to leave or ‘get away’ from the LGBTQ+ relationship. 

Seeking help when in a same sex abusive relationship can sometimes be difficult. Disclosing sexual orientation to the police or any other organisations is often the biggest barrier to overcome. 

In modern society there is still a considerable amount of homophobic and transphobic behaviour and this will often discourage a victim of the LGBQT+ society to disclose their abuse. Services and Organisations may often mistake the abuse as just a fight between two men or two women before seeing it as a domestic incident in an intimate relationship. There is a fear that it will give the Gay and Lesbian society a ‘bad name’, therefore there is a reluctance from the victim to disclose their sexual orientation when organisations use heterosexual assumptions such as;

• Using ‘he/she’, ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’, ‘husband/wife’ before the victim has disclosed their partner’s sex. 

When these assumptions are made, the victim may not feel that they can disclose their partners sex when seeking help for the abuse as they feel is it will not be taken seriously or count as abuse. 

To help and advise better there are a few simple changes that could and should be made by everyone. 

Here at REHOUSE TO REHOME we have some routine questions that we ask all of our service users and clients. Many of our clients and services users are in relationships where they are afraid of their partners or they are afraid of challenging their ex partners.

Have you ever felt or are you afraid of your partner?
Instead of saying  ‘he/she’, ‘boyfriend/girlfriend’, ‘husband/wife’ 
Say ‘Your Partner’. 
Using this non gendered wording will encourage disclosures of domestic abuse and violence.

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