Diverse & Resilient announces statewide help line for LGBTQ survivors

Diverse & Resilient has announced the new Room to Be Safe program and resource line serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) survivors of intimate partner or community violence and their loved ones. The program has been made possible by a grant through the Department of Children and Family Services.

In the Fox Valley, Diverse & Resilient is proud to partner with Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs, Reach Counseling, Inc. and the Sexual Assault Crisis Center.

“LGBTQ community members have indicated to us through community readiness assessments that one of their main desires is to have their first ‘outcry’ to talk about violence in their relationships be with an LGBTQ person,” said Kathy Flores, statewide LGBTQ anti-violence coordinator for Diverse & Resilient. “It is our hope that the Room to Be Safe resource line reduces a barrier for survivors reaching out for help.”

Survivors or their loved ones can call or text 414-856-LGBT (5428) to receive assistance, referrals, support and safety planning. This is not a 24-hour crisis line, but help will be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and is monitored nights and weekends.

According to The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ LGBTQ and HIV-Affected Intimate Partner Violence 2015 report, 44 percent of LGBTQ survivors attempting to access emergency shelter were denied and 71 percent reported being denied because of their gender identity. The Room to Be Safe resource line will help connect survivors to open and affirming programs. Advocates working with the Room to Be Safe program will also work with mainstream domestic violence programs across the state to help provide more inclusive and accessible services for LGBTQ survivors in Wisconsin.

“LGBTQ survivors of intimate partner violence are traditionally an underserved group,” said Beth Schnorr, executive director of Harbor House Domestic Abuse Programs. “These survivors have unique needs and face social and institutional barriers which must be addressed. The Room to be Safe program and resource line is a welcome and necessary addition that will enhance our ability to provide competent, culturally sensitive services to survivors of intimate partner violence.”