Domestic Abuse

The following information is taken from an information campaign on Domestic Abuse in LGBT relationships entitled "Are You?", launched on 30th May 2014 in conjunction with Cosc and with the support of the HSE NE.


1 in 4 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people are affected by domestic abuse


What is Domestic Abuse?

Domestic abuse is not only physical. If a partner / ex-partner hits or kicks you, then you know it is abuse. Domestic Abuse also includes psychological abuse; emotional abuse; sexual abuse; stalking; financial abuse and social abuse.

Even if you feel you only experience one of these on a regular basis, this can still be domestic abuse.


Physical abuse

Hitting, slapping, punching, kicking or any form of physical violence; threats of violence; or harming pets.

Sexual abuse

Touching body parts you’re not comfortable having touched; forcing you to have sex or to take part in any sexual act you don’t want to; forcing you to take part in a sexual act that makes you feel bad about yourself.

Emotional and mental abuse

Calling you names or making fun of you in front of friends or family; threatening to ‘out’ you; making it difficult to see friends or family; using homophobic, biphobic or transphobic language towards you; preventing you from leading your own life. 

Financial abuse

Withholding your money; taking you money from you or not allowing you access to your money.

Social abuse

Embarrassing you in company or public; putting you down; telling others about your private details when you don’t want them to.

These are just some examples of the types of behaviour that are known as Domestic Abuse.


Are You Abused?

Domestic Abuse is not limited to heterosexual couples.  And why would it? Domestic Abuse is perpetrated by people who feel they need to keep power over their partners and family. These traits are not exclusive to people who are heterosexual. Domestic Abuse occurs against men, women and children.


Are any of these statements true about your relationship:

Does your partner put you down and make you feel ashamed?

Does your partner tell you what to do and who you can see?

Has your partner ever pushed or hit you, or forced you to have sex?

Has your partner ever threatened to hurt you or your family?

Has your partner ever threatened to tell someone about your sexual orientation?

Has your partner ever threatened to tell someone about your gender identity?


If you answered "YES" to any of those questions, your partner is abusive and you are in an unsafe relationship.

Domestic abuse can escalate and can impact seriously on your health. The most important step to take once you realize you are in an abusive relationship is to make sure you are safe.

Talk to someone you trust such as family members, your doctor, counsellor, good friend or relevant services about what going on.


Are You an Abuser?

Domestic Abuse occurs in couples who are married, are living together or who are just dating. Abuse can be physical as well as emotional and sexual.  The first step in stopping the chain of abuse is to recognize when you are part of an abusive relationship.

Are any of these statements true about your relationship:

Do you put your partner down and make them feel ashamed?

Do you tell your partner what to do and who they can see?

Have you ever pushed or hit your partner, or forced them to have sex?

Have you ever threatened to hurt your partner or their family?

Have you ever threatened to tell someone about your partner’s sexual orientation?

Have you ever threatened to tell someone about your partner’s gender identity?


If your answer is "YES" to any of those questions, you are a perpetrator of domestic abuse, and your partner is in an unsafe relationship.

You need to get some help. Talk to someone you trust such as family members, your doctor, counsellor, good friend or relevant services about what going on in your relationship.

You do not have to intimidate and bully to keep love. Try trust and care.


Same-sex Couples and Legal Protection against Domestic Abuse

For women & men in a relationship with someone of the same sex, the question of abuse or domestic violence can be a tricky one. Our society teaches that domestic violence occurs between men and women. But abuse can and does happen in all kinds of relationships, including lesbian, gay and transgender relationships.


The law in Ireland in relation to Domestic Violence in Same Sex relationships:


Various Orders

Where a court believes your safety or welfare, physical or psychological, or that of a dependent child is at risk they may grant various orders to protect you or the child.


These include a safety order, a barring order, a protection order or an interim barring order. You may apply for these orders against your spouse, your civil partner, a person with whom you are cohabiting, a former spouse or civil partner or a child (if the child is over 18). You may also apply for an order to protect a child if you are the parent or have acted in a parental role towards the child.



If you are cohabiting, but not in a civil partnership or married, there are some restrictions around barring orders: you must have lived in the house for six of the previous nine months and you cannot seek a barring order against someone with a greater interest in the house than you.


For more information on these protections see or Know Your Rights: The Rights and Obligations of Civil Partners and Other Same Sex Couples.


Where to get Support


The National LGBT Helpline

1850 929 539


Safe Ireland

National organisation for women experiencing domestic violence


Women’s Aid

Support service for women experiencing domestic violence

National Helpline: 1800 341 900


Rape Crisis Network Ireland

The representative body for Rape Crisis Centres

24 Hour Helpline 1800 77 88 88


Transgender Equality Network Ireland



Support service for men experiencing domestic violence

Helpline 046 9023718


HSE Information Line

Support for older people experiencing abuse in a relationship

1850 24 1850


If you feel you are in danger, contact your local Gardaí at 999


For full details on perpetrator programmes see

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