Sexual Violence Wellbeing
LGBT Foundation launches dedicated support services for LGBTQ+ victims and survivors of sexual violence and abuse.
This new LGBTQ+ ISVA service, created for and by LGBTQ+ people, meets the specific needs of LGBTQ+ people of all identities. The ISVA service offers emotional support and advocacy, acts as a single point of contact, provides support whilst navigating the criminal justice system and completes onward referrals and signposting, in an inclusive and welcoming environment.
Rachel Bottomley, Director of Development for LGBT Foundation, said: “While sexual assault and violence can affect people of all identities, we know that trans women, bisexual individuals, gay men, particularly those who engage in high-risk sexual behaviours, and people experiencing homelessness are particularly at risk and have specific needs. We’re excited to deliver a culturally competent service which address these needs and improves the lives of LGBTQ+ people.”
“Access to an ISVA is an important factor in guaranteeing that the criminal justice process meets the needs of victims and survivors. With 1 in 14 of our service users citing an experience of sexual assault as a reason for accessing our well-being services, the introduction of an ISVA specifically for LGBTQ+ people in Greater Manchester has been wanted for a long time. It will go a long way in making sure that some of the most vulnerable people in our community are treated with dignity and respect throughout the criminal justice process”.
LGBTQ+ communities face unique barriers and challenges when seeking support related to sexual violence. This can include discrimination, fear of judgement, a lack of understanding and awareness of LGBTQ+ issues within services and a lack of safe and inclusive spaces.
This means official figures are often distorted due to under-reporting.
The latest report from Galop (the UK’s LGBT+ anti-abuse charity) outlines the experience of almost 1000 LGBT+ survivors of sexual abuse. 53% of LGBTQ+ people surveyed felt that their identity was linked to at least one instance of sexual violence. Almost 20% of those survivors had never told anyone about their most significant experience of sexual violence.
LGBT Foundation’s new ISVA service is supported by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and The Ministry of Justice. It aligns with Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Gender-Based Violence Strategy which includes a commitment to ensuring there are services that meet the needs of LGBTQ+ people experiencing gender-based violence. It builds on the success of LGBT Foundation’s LGBTQ+ Independent Domestic Violence Advisory (IDVA) service – the only service of its kind in Greater Manchester that has supported over 370 cases of high-risk domestic abuse from across all 10 boroughs.
LGBT Foundation’s ISVA service is available to any LGBTQ+ person over the age of 18, living in Greater Manchester that have experienced recent and non-recent sexual offences.
For more information or to self-refer visit: lgbt.foundation/sexual-violence