Lack of Resources in the LGBTQ Community to be Addressed with New PADV Position
By: Ebony Russell
Underserved Communities Outreach Advocate
Domestic violence is not limited to heterosexual relationships and can affect individuals of all sexual orientations and genders. In fact, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, domestic violence occurs at the same rate in LGBTQ relationships as in heterosexual relationships.
What many don’t know is that domestic violence in the LGBTQ community can take different forms than intimate partner violence in heterosexual relationships. Gay or lesbian batterers often threaten “outing” their victims to work colleagues, family and friends, which creates a sense of extreme isolation. Lesbian and gay victims are more reluctant to report abuse to legal authorities because doing so would force them to reveal their sexual orientation. LGBTQ victims may also have a difficult time recognizing abuse because of the lack of information, education and community discussion around same-sex domestic violence.
In February 2017, PADV introduced a new position, Underserved Communities Outreach Advocate to reach the LGBTQ population, along with those who are disabled and individuals who are incarcerated. This position is unique because the advocate meets the survivor in their own community, helping to eliminate any barriers that may exist for that individual. With this position, PADV is able to provide services to both Gwinnett and Fulton County residents.
When working with the LGBTQ population we have to keep in mind that they face many barriers. One huge barrier is lack of resources and information. The Underserved Communities Outreach Advocate connects the underserved communities to the resources that are available and works to discover and develop new resources in order to decrease the barriers that survivors may face. This helps LGBTQ survivors have equal access to services as straight victims of domestic violence.
PADV offers support groups, counseling services, emergency shelter and legal advocacy for the LGBTQ community. To continue to foster more awareness and growth within the domestic violence service provider community, PADV will be presenting a workshop titled, “LGBTQ Cultural Competency” at the 2018 Annual Family Violence Conference on Jekyll Island. The goal of this annual conference is to unravel the complexities that exist in solving domestic violence. Through this workshop, PADV strives to continue to shed light on victims of domestic violence who are often forgotten.
For more information about how PADV is supporting victims of domestic violence in the LGBTQ community please call 404.764.9343. For assistance or to talk about anything related to domestic violence, please call our 24-hour hotline at 404.873.1766