Despite having police liaison officers who specialise in LGBTI issues, contemporary research indicates that the majority of LGBTI communities still avoid contacting police even if they are victims of domestic violence (DV) or crimes.
During the period of September to November 2017, the author attended seven police departments and fifteen community support organisations throughout the USA, Canada, UK and the Netherlands to gain an insight into issues surrounding DV in LGBTI communities and the strategies used to improve the way in which police respond to the issue, develop connections with support agencies, and enable front line police to have more meaningful and effective interactions with LGBTI communities. The author interviewed a number of experts in this field and heard them speak of their concerns relating to the extent of DV in LGBTI communities, the underreporting of these experiences in these communities, and the impact that it is having on victims and families.
It was identified that people in LGBTI communities may not identify themselves as being in a DV relationship, as DV is most often seen as a problem of heterosexual relationships with men abusing women. LGBTI people are less likely to see themselves as experiencing abuse or being an abuser if they cannot identify with the portrayed characteristics of domestic violence within the public eye, and therefore do not believe that support is available to them. There is often a belief that they will not be taken seriously or believed by police, or will not be treated appropriately or respectfully.
This report and recommendations will provide an insight into DV in LGBTI communities, barriers to reporting, police strategies used to combat DV, and ways to enable members of LGBTI communities to confidently seek support from police or other community support agencies.