Diversity & Inclusion
We recognise that anyone can experience Domestic Violence & Abuse (DV & A) regardless of their sex, gender, race, ethnic or religious group, sexuality, class, or disability, however some women who experience other forms of oppression and discrimination may face further barriers to disclosing abuse and finding help.
Since Leeds Women’s Aid opened the first women’s refuge outside of London in 1973, we have offered and operated women only services, recognising the need for gender specific DV & A services. Women are more likely than men to experience multiple incidents of abuse, different types of domestic abuse (intimate partner violence, sexual assault and stalking) and in particular sexual violence.
Men who experience DV & A are supported by us through our partnership work in delivering the Leeds Domestic Violence Service (LDVS) and we offer community and accommodation based services to men and their families.
We can’t talk about diversity without recognising that oppression intersects, therefore white women experience DV&A in different ways to women from BAME communities, and Trans women face additional barriers to accessing support.
Supporting LGBT+ People
All of our support services are open to Lesbian, Bisexual & Trans women and we offer support to all LGBT+ people through Leeds Domestic Violence Service (LDVS).
All of our frontline staff have been trained in working with, and removing barriers for, LGBT+ people and we are currently examining our practices, working towards ensuring that our services are accessible, inclusive and appropriate for LGBT+ people in Leeds.
Trans people can experience domestic abuse from a same or opposite sex partner, and can do so regardless of the gender identity of either person. In some cases, abusers will use the process of ‘coming out’ or transition as an additional form of control. This can be particularly difficult where children are involved. Trans people can also experience abuse from family members. If someone experiences abuse from their family, this may occur after they have come out, during transition or when they enter into a relationship where either or both partners are Trans.
Supporting Different Faiths and Cultures
DV & A is perpetuated in many different ways, and often by multiple abusers, and many women say that race and religion compound their experiences as female survivors of DV & A, often actual and fear of racism silencing them.
Due to multiple levels of discrimination, women from black and minority ethnic communities, refugees and asylum seekers and those experiencing Honour Based Violence, Forced Marriage or Female Genital Mutilation, experience greater isolation and additional barriers to accessing help and support.
We strive to ensure that women of all, any or no faiths or religions or any ethnic background has equality of access to support from our services, and that they are treated with culturally appropriate respect.
We aim to offer all of our services can be in an accessible way, we will:
- Offer interpreters for telephone and face to face work.
- Provide transport or transport costs if we can, particularly if you need to go to court.
- Offer help in finding childcare where possible.
- Communicate in a professional but plain English way, working in flexible ways to make your experience of support the best it can be.