The conversation about domestic violence and sexual assault often tends to focus primarily on heterosexual relationships. While this is an important conversation, members of the LGBTQ community are often left out of the movement. Domestic violence affects people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. In fact, research shows that LGBTQ members fall victim to DV at equal or even higher rates than heterosexual couples. There are many unique challenges this group faces that create extra barriers for the victim/survivor.  We will discuss some of those obstacles below. 

At New HOPE, we believe every person deserves a life free from abuse and violence. We are committed to helping ALL victims of domestic violence and sexual violence. 

Obstacles for the LGBTQ Community

  • Fear of not being believed or taken seriously. Victims may fear that their story will be met by discrimination or common stereotypes such as that violence does not happen in lesbian relationships, LGBTQ violence is always mutual, and that all LGBTQ relationships are unhealthy. The abuser may use this to their advantage, reinforcing their fear that they will not be taken seriously if they reach out for help. 
  • Shame or embarrassment. Victims may be struggling with internalized feelings of homophobia or shame about their sexual orientation. The abuser may play on their sexuality or gender insecurities to make them feel unworthy of seeking help.
  • Less legal protection. While there are resources for LGBTQ communities facing abuse, some states may restrict restraining orders to heterosexual couples. It is important to know these laws so the abuser cannot use misinformation to further control or manipulate the situation. 
  • Fear of retaliation. If the victim is not out to everyone, the abuser may threaten to reveal their secret to family members, friends, or community members. This may keep the victim from reaching out for help. 
  • Fear of image for LGBTQ community. Many victims may try to hide the abuse for fear of tarnishing the image of the LGBTQ commununity. 
  • Loss of community.  The survivor's community may already feel small if their family or friends do not accept them because of their sexual orientation or gender-identity. They may feel like they have nowhere to turn. However, there are so many resources to help survivor's build a good support system during this time.  


The Anti-Violence Project Hotline: Serves people who are LGBTQ. 

1-212-714-1141, Bilingual 24/7

LGBT National Help Center


National Domestic Violence Hotline
1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

New Hope of McDowell 24/7 Crisis Line