EXPERTS believe domestic violence is same-sex relationships in Hartlepool is going unreported.
Cleveland Police recorded just nine incidents of domestic violence incidents in gay relationships in the town from January to December 2013.
This figure compared to the 2,660 total number of reports of abuse in the home.
Sarah Lewis, who runs a domestic violence support service at the town’s gay lesbian and transgender group Hart Gables, in York Road, bvelieves incidents are not being reporting, adding “there is a massive gap which needs to be bridged”.
She said: “There were just nine reported incidents of domestic violence for same-sex couples. But the numbers for hetrosexual relationships were much, much higher.
“There is a barrier there and it needs to be broken down.
“Years ago domestic violence in hetrosexual relationships wasn’t really reported but now it is. The same needs to happen for gay or even transgendered couples.”
Sarah said abuse does not have to be physical, it can be controlling or abusive emotional behaviour as well.
“Sometimes in same-sex relationships, if a girl hits a girl, the victim might believe that because it’s a girl doing the abusing then it doesn’t count, but it does” she added.
“If your relationship is not loving, respectful or warm, then there’s something wrong.”
For further details on domestic violence counselling, support or training services at Hart Gables telephone Sarah on (01429) 236790.
To report a domestic violence crime telephone police on 999 in an emergency, or the non-emergency 101 number.