LGBTQ+ people from ethnic minority backgrounds or communities of colour can face different challenges and complications when experiencing domestic abuse from a partner or family member.

These challenges will different on an individual basis, as people from different ethnicities will have different circumstances and cultural factors to consider. Sometimes, these could include worries such as not wanting to be cut off from their entire social circle, or having deep connections with their local community. Or they may not be out to members of their community or family and face the added risk of being outed when accessing LGBTQ+ specific services.

Within some communities of colours domestic violence may take a different form to physical violence or emotional abuse. Conversion therapy, forced marriage, honour based violence, and female genital mutilation are also forms of domestic violence.

The specific cultural, and religious context of every case is different, but there are some general pieces of advice below that may be of help to queer people of colour who want to access support.

I want to access support, but don’t want to be outed

Support services like the National LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence Helpline (0800 999 5428) and the National Conversion Therapy Helpline (0800 1303335) can be accessed anonymously and they will not divulge your personal information. 

If you’re accessing support online, then try using the methods in our fact sheet on accessing online support safely. If you intend to use a walk-in service, and are worried about being seen by a member of your community, then it may be worth accessing a service slightly further away from where you live, or where your community is based.

It’s also possible to apply for support from a council outside of your local area for support if you’re seeking access to refuge or accommodation.

It’s important for you to assess the risks, and what’s best for you, on your own terms. Try not to let other people coerce you into using a service that you don’t feel comfortable accessing, or in a way that doesn’t feel safe for you. You’re probably better placed than they are to understand what kind of action is most likely to keep your information and sexuality private.

I’m worried LGBTQ+ services won’t understand my problems

LGBTQ+ services should be trained to understand the specific cultural issues facing queer people of colour in abusive situations, however, it’s also totally understandable if you’d rather access a service targeted specifically at your community.

On its website, Spark & Co has a lengthy list of organisations that support people from different religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. These organisations have the knowledge and experience to understand what complications you may be facing.

You can find our list of LGBTQ+ organisations that support domestic abuse survivors here.

I don’t want to hurt my family / community

It’s understandable to be concerned about your family and community, which may still mean a lot to you, while also wanting the abuse to stop. This can put many LGBTQ+ people of colour in what feels like an impossible position where they have to choose between family and community life, and their own safety.

While there are no guarantees that in escaping domestic abuse, all relationships will remain unchanged, you can control the types of support you access. For some people heading to a refuge without involving the council and potential subsequent investigations, may be the best decision. For others accessing online support, or advice via the internet may be as much intervention as is needed. You don’t have to involve the police if you don’t want to, and there are options open to survivors to keep their privacy intact, while also escaping an abuser.

This is about what’s best for you, and which solution best meets your emotional and social needs while also keeping you safe. 

I’m not a UK citizen, how can I receive support?

If you’re not a UK citizen, then this won’t stop you from seeking support from most charitable organisations. Services like Galop, or AKT should be able to help you, regardless of your nationality. The most important place where support may be denied is your local council, which may not be able to assist non-UK citizens.