Worrying Result in Spectrum Survey

// 5 June 2009

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Following on from Laura’s post about violence against trans women around the world, I’d also like to mention that there’s a post over at Bird of Paradox (BoP) about a forthcoming UK trans survey on domestic violence. This is much needed research because, as Helen highlights (on BoP), 64% of trans people who took part in a recent survey undertaken for Spectrum LGBT forum said they had experienced domestic violence at some time.

Here’s some more info from the report:

Qualitative data from the questionnaire indicates that this abuse can be due to violent, aggressive and abusive reactions to trans identities. For some trans respondents, their families of origin rejected them because of their sexual identity or gender identity. This is an area that needs further in depth investigation and policy development in order to help tackle and prevent this form of abuse. However, these findings also contest the assumption that family violence and abuse can solely be attributed to homophobia and partnered violence attributed to other more traditional motivations. Emerging research in this area notes that trans people can experience domestic violence and abuse from a range of ‘family members’ including parents, partners, children as well as other forms of rejection and exclusion (see Whittle et al., 2007)

Unfortunately, the invisibilisation of trans people means there’s a general lack of stats in this area. As Dr. Kath Browne states in the report, further research needs to be conducted into trans people’s experiences of domestic violence and abuse and, crucially, this needs to address how such abuse can be prevented and the provision of services for trans survivors:

Trans people are more likely to lack support from their families and experience domestic violence and abuse. 41% of trans respondents describe their relationship with their family of origin as poor or very poor… Services that cater for domestic violence and abuse may not always cater for trans people and should ensure that they have in place a policy for dealing with trans clients. Similarly, trans services need to be able to support trans people in dealing with such experiences

This lack of acknowledgement and brushing away from the organisations and institutions which are meant to help just serves to make trans people even more vulnerable to violence. It’s easy to say that the presence of shelters, public awareness etc do not seem to act as a deterrant to those who do abuse but it must surely make some potential abusers think twice. We all know there are vile people out there who spot marginalisation and then take advantage of it so where does this leave trans people?

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