A new helpline launched by the Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance will offer LGBTQ-informed support and advocacy services and can be reached free of charge at 1-866-356-6998 or by chat here 7 days a week, 24-hours a day.
The LGBTQ Partner Abuse & Sexual Assault Helpline is part of the Richmond Area Partnership to Enhance Services to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Survivors and Raise Awareness of Violence in LGBTQ Communities (RAP). RAP is a collaborative project between the Action Alliance, Virginia Anti-Violence Project, Southerners on New Ground (SONG). Safe Harbor, ROSMY, the Gay Community Center of Richmond, and the Health Brigade.
LGBTQ Virginians are significantly impacted by sexual violence, intimate partner violence, stalking, and hate- motivated violence. The State of Violence in LGBTQ Communities of Virginia Report (2008) by the Virginia Anti-Violence Project (VAVP) finds:
- 41% of respondents had been in an abusive relationship at some time in their lives.
- 30% had been stalked;
- 36% experienced sexual violence as children or youth (17 and younger);
- 26% experienced sexual violence as an adult.
Twenty seven percent (27%) of respondents to the Transgender Health Initiative Study (2007) by the Virginia Department of Health experienced sexual violence2.
The VAVP report indicates LGBTQ Virginians do not feel that supportive services are readily accessible; 84% of respondents thought that domestic violence agencies primarily serve heterosexual non-transgender women. Eighty-four percent (84%) of respondents also agreed that they would feel comfortable calling an LGBTQ specific hotline for services. This is especially important considering 92% of respondents believe that LGBTQ people might not access services because they would not want to disclose their sexual orientation or gender identity to the service provider.