Intimate Partner Abuse (IPA) in the LGBTQ+ Community

What is IPA?

Intimate partner abuse (IPA) is a serious issue affecting individuals in all relationships, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s an umbrella term encompassing various harmful behaviours used to control and dominate a partner. This abuse can be emotional, physical, sexual, or financial, and has a significant impact on the victim’s mental and physical well-being.

Unique Challenges for LGBTQ+ Individuals

While there are similarities between the experiences of LGBTQ+ individuals and heterosexual victims, there are also specific challenges faced within the community:

  • “Outing” as a Control Tactic: Abusers may exploit the fear of disclosure by threatening to reveal their victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity to friends, family, or employers. This is especially damaging due to the close-knit nature of some LGBTQ+ communities.
  • Internalised Abuse and Identity Shame: Victims may blame themselves for the abuse, believing it stems from their LGBTQ+ identity. This can lead to feelings of shame and self-doubt, further hindering them from seeking help.
  • Limited Awareness and Understanding: Lack of open discussion and awareness about IPA within LGBTQ+ communities can lead to disbelief, confusion, or even denial when abuse occurs. This can make it difficult for individuals to recognise their experiences as abusive and seek support.
  • Isolation and Confidentiality concerns: The close-knit nature of some LGBTQ+ communities, while offering support, can also lead to isolation and difficulty in seeking help. Abusers may exploit this by controlling access to resources and support networks, further isolating the victim.

Seeking Help and Support

Remember, you are not alone. There are numerous resources available to support you, regardless of your sexual orientation or gender identity. Here are some resources available in Ireland:

Immediate Support:

  • Gardaí: Call 999 or 112 for immediate assistance if you are in danger.

Support Services:

  • Men’s Aid Ireland: Offers support services and resources for men and their families experiencing domestic violence and coercive control. (01) 554 3811 | Confidential Support Email:  hello@mensaid.ie
  • National Male Advice Line (1800 816 588): The Men’s Development Network (MDN) offers national support and guidance to male victims of domestic abuse (along with concerned family and friends) through their Male Advice Line. This Freephone service is open 36 hours per week, from Monday to Friday, by calling: 1800 816 588.
  • The National Freephone Helpline (1800 341 900): Women’s Aid: Offers confidential support through a 24-hour helpline for anyone experiencing IPA.
  • Dublin Rape Crisis Centre: 24-hour helpline (1800 77 88 88) for survivors of sexual assault or abuse.
  • Safe Ireland: Provides information on domestic abuse services nationwide.
  • Text About It: (50808) Free 24/7 text support for mental health or emotional crises. Visit textaboutit.ie for more information.
  • Boots Pharmacies: “Safe Space” initiative offering support and connections to specialist services for individuals experiencing abuse.

Additional Support:

  • Specialist LGBTQ+ Organisations: General support and resources are available from organisations like LGBT Ireland, BelongTo, and Transgender Equality Network (TENI)
  • Still Here (www.stillhere.ie): Provides information and resources for individuals experiencing IPA in Ireland.
  • Outreach peer support from MPOWER Programme. The MPOWER team of peer sexual health outreach workers offer information, support and resources relating to HIV, STIs and sexual health & wellbeing needs for gbMSM. Email the MPOWER team at mpower@hivireland.ie or check out their website for more contact details mpower.hivireland.ie

Remember, reaching out for help takes courage, and you deserve to be safe and supported. Don’t hesitate to connect with any of the resources above.

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