Why Lesbian and Gay Survivors Don’t Seek Help from Social Services : Barriers Perceived by Service Users and Providers in Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2393–2409
Journal / PublicationBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number8
Online published10 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


This article reports the results of a small-scale exploratory study of the barriers to lesbian and gay people obtaining help from social services after having been abused by their same-sex partners, and highlight the issues that give rise to social work practice challenges. The voices of both service users and service providers are considered through in-depth interviews with nine lesbians and gay men and five social workers. From the perspective of users, the social construction of victim identity, heterosexism of social services and homophobia in the community were the major barriers that obstructed them from obtaining help from social services. By examining the discursive framework of service providers, victim blaming, family, heterosexual and homophobia discourses were identified as interactive and dynamic forces that compound the difficulties for same-sex intimate partner violence (SSIPV) survivors in gaining access to social services. To develop a culturally competent and anti-oppressive approach to practice with sexual minorities, we identify three problematic ideologies, which underpin the existing social service provisions, and which need to be addressed. These are: the ‘sexuality-blind’ approach to practice, a child-centred and heterosexist discourse on intimate partner violence, and the religious values of Christian social workers

Research Area(s)

  • same-sex partner violence, LGBT survivors, barriers to social services, help-seeking behaviours