Broken Rainbow, the only national domestic violence charity for LGBT people in the UK, is facing closure due to lack of funding.
The Manchester based charity has seven weeks to secure renewed funding from the Home Office before they have to shut down their services, which has helped roughly 10,000 people this financial year.
Jo Harvey Barringer, who is the managing director, has said that they “literally save lives” and asked the Home Office to recognise that domestic violence in the LGBT community is a real problem.
She went on to say: “LGBT charities are at the forefront of service cuts affecting the community’s most vulnerable people. This needs to stop.”
Her feelings were echoed by shadow minister for preventing abuse and domestic violence Sarah Champion, who said that Broken Rainbow is a vital lifeline for LGBT people.
Sarah, who is also the MP for Rotherham, had this to say: “Broken Rainbow still goes year to year without knowing if their core funding will be forthcoming. For an organisation that performs such a vital role, this is unacceptable.”
Broken Rainbow provide various services, including a national helpline and online chat services, which has helped over 42,000 people since it began 11 years ago. The charity’s own figures show that one in four LGBT people will experience domestic violence, either from their partner or family member.
That figure becomes even higher when only looking at transgender people, as it goes up to four in five.
Jo Barringer went on to claim that recognition of domestic violence within the community is 40 years behind the women’s movement.
“If you think about the LGBT equality battle, we’ve only just got the right to get married, so we’re not going to start talking about the not so pleasant aspects of our relationships.[LGBT people] don’t necessarily recognise that what’s going on in our relationships is domestic violence. So in regards to awareness, if you’re thinking of the women’s movement, we’re probably in the late 70s, early 80s.”
“When you look at domestic violence as a subject in this country, two women a week die at the hands of their male partners. LGBT people die at the hands of their partners too, but when it’s reported in the press it’s much more sensationalised, or it’s not even recognised as domestic violence.”
Barringer did recognise that women’s domestic violence charities recognised the issue of domestic violence within the LGBT community, but pointed out that they also have limited funding and were not set up for trans people or men.