Galop is launching the UK’s first ever dedicated helpline to support LGBT+ victims and survivors of sexual violence and abuse.
New research from Galop shows that over half (53 per cent) of LGBT+ people in the UK have been subjected to sexual violence in their lives. Further research shows that over half of LGBT+ sexual violence survivors surveyed felt that their assault was wholly, or in part, linked to or motivated by their LGBT+ identity.
Galop also uncovered that survivors who sought support from services which weren’t LGBT+ specific often had bad experiences, with only 22 per cent being satisfied by their experience of reporting what happened to them.
One LGBT+ survivor of sexual violence told Galop about their experience of accessing mainstream support: “After the judgmental response I never went back and I haven’t accessed any support since then.”
Another LGBT+ survivor of sexual violence said: “There were a few times I felt like I was speaking a foreign language and had to explain some really basic stuff.”
LGBT+ survivors of sexual assault also disclosed feeling like their experiences were linked to their LGBT+ identity, with one saying: “I was raped and beaten as a teenager and he verbally abused me through homosexual slurs and blamed my sexuality for his actions.”
Specialist LGBT+ services like our LGBT+ Rape and Sexual Abuse Helpline are incredibly important; survivors need a safe and understanding space where they can seek help knowing they’ll supported and understood, without fear of anti-LGBT+ discrimination, negative experiences or the risk of being ‘outed’.
Lord Michael Cashman CBE, said: “Over the last decade, sexual abuse and the impact it can have on a person has received more awareness than ever before. Yet, the queer community have largely been invisible in these conversations. With that in mind, the launch of a helpline run specifically for LGBT+ people is groundbreaking.
“I am personally reassured that any LGBT+ person facing this kind of abuse will now be able to access this much-needed support. When you’ve been through something as traumatic as sexual violence, the help you receive should be centered not only around understanding what you’ve been through, but also a knowledge and compassion for your identity and all the aspects of yourself that make you who you are.”
Leni Morris, CEO of LGBT+ anti-abuse charity Galop, said: “The launch of the Rape and Sexual Abuse Helpline is a historic step forward in providing specialist support for our community. We want LGBT+ victims and survivors to know that we’re here, we understand what you’re going through and help is available. Any LGBT+ survivor calling us can be confident that their call will be answered by a fellow LGBT+ person, who is trained and experienced in working with survivors of abuse and violence. Our community has gone too long without this kind of nationally available support – that changes today.”
Galop’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Helpline is available Monday – Thursday 10am – 8:30pm, and Friday 10am – 4:30pm.
Contact the Helpline by phone (0800 999 5428) or via email [email protected].