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Out of Sight, Out of Mind? Transgender people's experience of domestic abuse

in UNITED KINGDOM, 06/10/2010

This research lifts the lid on transgender people’s experience of domestic abuse in Scotland. The limited research available suggests that prevalence rates of domestic abuse may be higher for transgender people than any other section of the population. That statement is what led the LGBT Domestic Abuse Project (managed by LGBT Youth Scotland), in partnership with the Scottish Transgender Alliance (managed by the Equality Network), to examine transgender people’s experience of domestic abuse in Scotland.

Although there has been some research published looking specifically at same-sex domestic abuse and the prevalence rate of domestic abuse for lesbians, gay men and (to a lesser extent) bisexual people, there has been no published research focussed solely on transgender people’s experiences of domestic abuse in the UK. General research estimates that 73 percent of transgender people have experienced transphobic harassment and the Scottish Transgender Alliance found that 46 percent of transgender respondents to their ‘Transgender Experiences in Scotland’ survey had experienced transphobic abuse within a domestic relationship.

The LGBT Domestic Abuse Project is funded by the Scottish Government to raise awareness and improve service responses to LGBT people who experience domestic abuse. The project is managed by LGBT Youth Scotland and focuses on the experiences of people of all ages. The project is supported by a reference group of members from the Scottish Government’s Violence Against Women team, Scottish Women’s Aid, Stonewall Scotland, Women’s Support Project, Open Road, Equality Network and Scottish Transgender Alliance.

The Scottish Transgender Alliance is funded by the Scottish Government to raise awareness and improve transgender equality, rights and inclusion. The Scottish Transgender Alliance is managed by the Equality Network.

The LGBT Domestic Abuse Project and the Scottish Transgender Alliance have undertaken this research to investigate the ways in which transgender people experience domestic abuse and to help determine the specific needs of the transgender community when accessing services which provide support and advice to those experiencing domestic abuse. An additional focus of the research was to explore some of the barriers faced by transgender people experiencing domestic abuse when accessing mainstream domestic abuse services.

Key Findings

– 80% of respondents stated that they had experienced emotionally, sexually, or physically abusive behaviour by a partner or ex-partner.

– Although 80% of respondents identified having experienced some form of abusive behaviour from a partner or ex-partner, only 60% of respondents recognised the behaviour as domestic abuse.

– The type of domestic abuse most frequently experienced by the respondents was transphobic emotional abuse, with 73% of the respondents experiencing at least one type of transphobic emotionally abusive behaviour from a partner or ex-partner.

– 60% of respondents had experienced controlling behaviour from a partner or ex-partner.

– 45% of respondents had experienced physically abusive behaviour from a partner or ex-partner.

– 47% of respondents had experienced some form of sexual abuse from a partner or ex-partner.

– 37% of respondents said that someone had forced, or tried to force them to have sex when they were under the age of 16.

– 46% of respondents said that someone had forced, or tried to force them to engage in some other form of sexual activity when under the age of 16.

– 10% of respondents stated that someone had forced, or tried to force them to engage in sexual activity for money.

Seventy-five percent of the respondents answered questions relating to the impact that domestic abuse had on their wellbeing. They also answered questions about whether they had contacted any support services about their experiences of domestic abuse. Their responses are as follows:

– 98% identified at least one negative impact upon their wellbeing as a result of their experiences of domestic abuse.

– 76% identified having experienced psychological or emotional problems as a consequence of the abuse.

– 15% said that they had attempted suicide as a consequence of the abuse.

– 24% told no one about the domestic abuse that they had experienced.

– 18% felt that the most recent domestic abuse that they had experienced was “just something that happened”.

– 51% thought that the most recent domestic abuse they had experienced was “wrong but not a crime”.

* Full copy of the study is attached in this article.

 

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