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Partner Abuse / Domestic Violence


Over 20% of those in same-sex relationships who suffer domestic violence do not seek help, more than half prefer to tell a friend rather than the statutory agency and only one in 10 reports to the police.†

In December 2005, the Croydon Advertiser ran an article about a local man Tim‡ who had been in an unexpected, break-up row with Andrew‡ his partner. Andrew became violent, this time doing physical damage. Tim went to a call box to phone the police. But then, against advice, he went back to speak to his partner, who, quite out of character, attacked him with a knife. In this case the circumstances blew up quickly and the attack was unexpected. What the paper did not say was that the violence had built up gradually. Andrew had hit Tim on previous occasions, when other people were watching. This is common. Often our relationships develop imperceptibly into emotional abuse, and the partners don't recognise the abuse. Even violence is not recognised.

But you may recognise someone else's partnership becoming violent and you can phone for help and advice for them before it becomes a tragedy. In fact our relationships, the relationships of ordinary gay and lesbian people, are often abusive or turn violent. If you are the victim of violence in your relationship, or a friend, you should call the police. If it's an emergency call 999, otherwise the Police Community Safety Unit will help (see Contact Us).


The Broken Rainbow Domestic abuse helpline has now been taken over by Galop. You can phone it on 0300 999 5428 or 0800 999 5428 at the following times:

  • 10am – 8pm Monday
  • 10am – 5pm Tuesday
  • 10am – 5pm Wednesday
  • 10am – 8pm Thursday
  • 1pm – 5pm Friday

(1pm – 5pm Tuesday is trans specific service).

The above details are correct as at July 2016

† Source: Prof Marianne Hester, University of Bristol and Dr Catherine Donovan, University of Sunderland.

‡ Not their real names.

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