Tuesday, 06 September 2011 16:22

Scottish Domestic Violence Law Does Not Include LGBT People

Written by 


In Scotland, a law lecturer asks that LGBT people are take into account in the law concerning domestic violences.

Brian Dempsey wrote in the Edinburgh Law Review: "My impression is that both politicians and people involved in delivering domestic abuse services are sympathetic to lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people but are generally pretty unaware of our needs – especially so in relation to transgendered people.

But the overwhelming emphasis on presenting domestic abuse as something that men do to women means that people such as accident and emergency nurses or GPs or housing officers just aren’t picking up on the signals that an LGBT client might need help.

For LGBT people themselves it’s often not worth the risk of raising the issue in an atmosphere where you don’t know if you will be taken seriously and where services all seems to be geared to female victims of male abusers. To say ‘I’m a male victim’ or to say ‘my abuser is female’ is often just too risky."

Unfortunately, it is not as these violences did not exist. A 2008 Stonewall survey showed eight in ten of lesbians and bisexual women had experience domestic violence. Only half of those were satisfied with how police officers dealt with the situation.

The Scottish government defines "Domestic abuse (as gender-based abuse), can be perpetrated by partners or ex-partners and can include physical abuse (assault and physical attack involving a range of behaviour), sexual abuse (acts which degrade and humiliate women and are perpetrated against their will, including rape) and mental and emotional abuse…" unlike the British law which includes the gender and the sexuality: "any incident of threatening behaviour, violence or abuse (psychological, physical, sexual, financial or emotional) between adults who are or have been intimate partners or family members, regardless of gender or sexuality."