Abuse, Violence and LGBTQI+ Children and Young People

LGBTQI+ children and young people make up one of the most vulnerable groups of children and young people using the services of child helplines. However, there is a significant lack of child helpline data on this particular group. In our data collection concerning the year 2017, we asked our child helpline members in the EU to provide data on the contacts they had received from LGBTQI+ children and young people, in order to gain more insight into the issues this particular group faces.

In general, the data showed that the main reason children and young people in the EU contacted child helplines in 2017 was in relation to psychosocial and mental health. For LGBTQI+ children and young people, however, the main reason for contacting child helplines – 45,053 contacts throughout the year – was about abuse and violence. Moreover, this was only those children and young people who had specifically identified themselves as LGBTQI+. The number of contacts regarding abuse and violence against LGBTQI+ children and young people could in fact be much higher.

Community of Practice

In 2018, Child Helpline International organised a Community of Practice to exchange knowledge on how child helplines can best support LGBTQI+ children and young people. This Community of Practice worked towards developing a set of good practices with the aim of strengthening the capacity of child helplines when supporting and advocating for the rights of LGBTQI+ children and young people. On a larger scale, the network of child helplines aimed to contribute to a more integrated child protection system for LGBTQI+ children and young people and also to build working partnerships between child helplines and expert organisations.

The Community of Practice shared a series of case studies, such as the one below.

A woman called the child helpline to express her concerns about her 17-year-old nephew. She told the counsellor that a couple of days ago the boy’s father had beaten him and broken his nose, and that his parents had taken all his personal documents, bank cards and cellphone away from him. They had forbidden him to communicate with anyone, and escorted him to and from his workplace. According to the woman, this was because the boy was gay. His older brother, now living abroad, had also experienced the same abuse from the parents because he was gay, and he had been threatened with death if he tried to protect his younger brother. The woman had helped and supported her older nephew for many years – she had been warned by the father not to interfere any more, but although she was afraid she could not stand by and let the younger boy suffer such abuse.

It turned out that the father had also threatened the boy’s partner, who had been able to make a recording of the conversation. The child helpline informed the police, making sure that the woman’s identity was protected in accordance with the child helpline’s confidentiality procedures.

Child Helpline International and its network will continue to support and advocate for LGBTQI+ children and young people.

 

Resources:

This article is based on our thematic data report from 2017. To read it, click here.

Read more about the Community of Practice here.

To read our 2018 data report, click here.

 

 

This project is funded by the European Union’s Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme (REC 2014-2020). The content of this article represents only the views of the author and is his/her sole responsibility. The European Commission does not accept any responsibility for use that may be made of the information it contains.