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LGBT Charter Mark Campaign Research

Sexual Violence Affecting LGBT People and Barriers to Accessing Support

A broad body of policy and research from Scotland and across the UK indicates that people with protected characteristics, including people who identify as LGBT, are at increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence (Scottish Government) and experience barriers rooted in inequality and discrimination to accessing help and support.

  • The Scottish Government’s Equally Safe strategy (updated in 2018) which addresses violence against women and girls in Scotland states that:
    • ‘Along with their gender, women and girls have other protected characteristics that increases their level of risk of experiencing violence and abuse. Drivers for this are often the continuing prejudice and structural barriers in society which cause inequality. Lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and girls experience violence and abuse which targets their sexual orientation, gender identity or both; homophobia, biphobia and transphobia can drive (or be used as components of) abuse by perpetrators. The additional risk factors affecting transgender women and girls also include high levels of transphobic street harassment and hate crime, and greater levels of social isolation, which contributes high levels of vulnerability and increased difficulties in accessing services.'
  • A recent survey carried out by LGBT Youth Scotland found that 31% of young LGBT women and girls aged 13 to 25 have experienced sexual violence, including unwanted touching, sexual assault, and rape. In addition, 35% of young LGBT women and girls have had people make sexually aggressive comments specifically due to their LGBT identity, and 33% have had someone demand they send sexual images when they did not want to.
  • Research undertaken by the Scottish Transgender Alliance in 2010 found that 47% of trans people had experienced some form of sexual abuse from a partner or ex-partner. 37% of respondents said that someone had forced, or tried to force them to have sex when they were under the age of 16, and 46% of respondents said that someone had forced, or tried to force them to engage in some other form of sexual activity when under the age of 16. 10% of respondents stated that someone had forced, or tried to force them to engage in sexual activity for money.
  • A recent survey carried out across the UK by Survivors UK indicated that 45% of gay and bisexual men have experienced sexual assault.
  • In 2018, the Trade Unions Congress [TUC] conducted research into sexual harassment experienced by LGBT people in the workplace which found that around seven out of ten LGBT workers experienced at least one type of sexual harassment at work (68%) and almost one in eight LGBT women (12%) reported being seriously sexually assaulted or raped at work. The TUC concluded that sexual harassment affecting LGBT workers was a largely a hidden problem however, with two thirds of those who were harassed not reporting it; and one in four of those who did not report the harassment being silenced by fear of ‘outing’ themselves at work.
  • A survey by Galop in 2022 found that sexual violence affected LGBT people in profound and long-lasting ways:
    • 85% of survey respondents experienced negative impacts on their mental health;
    • 77% experienced negative impacts on their intimate relationships;
    • 67% had an increase in suicidal thoughts and 64% increased self-harming.
    • Around two thirds of respondents experienced an increase in suicidal thoughts (67%) or self–harm (64%) following sexual violence;
    • 18% of respondents had never told anyone about their most significant experience of sexual violence.

Furthermore, the impacts of sexual violence affecting LGBT people can be compounded by additional inequalities facing LGBT people in rural areas and communities. In particular, research published by both the Scottish Government and the Equality Network highlight the following barriers experienced by people who identify as LGBT in rural communities:

  • isolation and alienation
  • lack of visibility, representation and awareness
  • inaccessibility and lack of specific services
  • prejudicial attitudes and discrimination experienced within the community and services.

Sexual Violence in Moray

According to the Scottish Government publication Recorded Crime in Scotland 2021-22 , 265 sexual crimes were recorded in Moray by Police Scotland in the period 2021- 2022. This represents a 23% increase on sexual crime recorded in Moray in the previous year (2020-2021). Between 2012-2013 and 2021-2022, there has been an overall increase of 67% in sexual crimes recorded in Moray.

In 2021-22, Moray Rape Crisis supported 165 people in Moray affected by sexual violence. Overall, since our formation in 2018, we have supported 348 people in Moray affected by sexual violence.

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