Family Violence among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered Queer, Questioning, Intesex and Two-spir

​(The following are quotes from A Focus on Family Violence: The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada, 2016.)

Some Canadian families are experiencing unhealthy conflict, abuse and violence that have the potential to affect their health. Known collectively as family violence, it takes many forms, ranges in severity and includes neglect as well as physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse. People who experience family violence need to be supported while people who are abusive or violent need to be held accountable.

Women, children, Indigenous peoples, people with disabilities, and people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans or questioning are at greater risk of experiencing family violence and its impacts.

Data on family violence in the LGBTQQI2S community are limited in Canada, so it is hard to know the full scope of the issue. In 2014, 8% of same-sex partners said they had experienced intimate partner violence in the previous five years compared to 4% of heterosexual partners. For same-sex partners, this is a decrease from 21% in 2004. Research shows that people who identify as LGBTQ are more likely to experience child abuse and neglect, bullying, sexual harassment from peers, dating violence and violence in a marriage or common-law relationship.

For people who identify as LGBTQ, there are several additional factors that can affect their risk for family violence:

  • Family acceptance is a key issue for LGBTQ youth. It can influence self-esteem and social support as well as physical and mental health.

  • Lesbian or bisexual women and gay or bisexual men can face challenges related to gender stereotypes. For women, it can be the belief that women are not violent. For men, it can be the belief that men are violent and do not talk about experiencing violence or abuse.

Other factors include:

  • Stress from being part of a minority group;

  • The threat of being exposed as being LGBTQ;

  • Disclosure of HIV status if relevant;

  • Gender role conflict;

  • Social stigma;

  • Violence external to the relationship, and;

  • Lack of specific support services

(The report also identifies high-level prevention strategies for family violence.)

Source: Dr. Gregory Taylor, A Focus on Family Violence: The Chief Public Health Officer’s Report on the State of Public Health in Canada, 2016. Found at

Accessed on March 3, 2019