Sheffield is one of only six cities in the country that is creating better support and raising awareness about domestic abuse in the LGBT+ community.
This year is the first of a two year project, funded by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, which will see an increase in support across South Yorkshire for those experiencing domestic abuse.
The council’s funding bid for this work highlighted that Sheffield has a relatively good rate of identification and referral of victims of abuse who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, asexual, intersex, queer or questioning (LGBT+) and that the services in the country need to improve ‘in order to be truly accessible’. It showed too that referral rates in the other parts of South Yorkshire are lower than in Sheffield.
The project means that support workers will be employed to provide specialist help to organisations that already provide advice and support. There will be increased access to refuges and safe accommodation, an increase in the skills and knowledge of staff in refuges, housing providers and homelessness teams in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield.
The aim is for services to be accessible and open, getting rid of the barriers that exist.
Jackie Drayton, cabinet member for Children and Families said: “We know that domestic abuse can affect anyone and that in particular it is under reported in the LGBT+ community. Domestic abuse is any abuse that happens in a family or personal relationship, where one person bullies or controls the other one. It is never ok and you don’t have to put up with it. We’re very pleased that we now have this funding which will provide much needed support to those who have maybe felt unable to contact us before now.”
Steve Slack, CEO of SAYiT, the organisation that provides support and social opportunities for young people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or affected by HIV said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Sheffield City Council on this innovative project. As a local charity we have been working with LGBT+ young people for twenty years. We have witnessed at first hand the devastating impact of domestic abuse on the lives of LGBT+ people. This working partnership will allow us, not only to raise awareness of Domestic Abuse within the LGBT+ communities across the whole of South Yorkshire, but also ensure services are able to respond more appropriately and sensitively – as well as identifying domestic abuse in the first instance.”
Councillor Chris Peace, cabinet member for Health and Social care said: “This is really important work and that’s why we bid for funding for the project from the government. Everyone should feel protected from harm at all times in any kind of relationship. Remember that our helpline is confidential and we’re here to help. Pick up the phone if you don’t feel safe and we’ll offer you good advice and support.”
For anyone who is concerned about whether they are experiencing domestic abuse or if they want to speak with someone, they can call the Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 8082241 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More information on domestic abuse is at:www.sheffielddact.org.uk/domestic-abuse
SayiT is at:www.sayit.org.uk