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National Helpline for LGBT+ Victims and Survivors of Abuse and Violence0800 999 5428

Email help@galop.org.uk

Sexual violence

Sexual violence covers a range of sexual acts that happen to someone without their consent

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence can take many shapes and sometimes our sexual or romantic orientation and/or gender identity may be used as part of the abuse. Here are some examples that may reflect your experience:  

  • Sexual harassment and sexual touching 
  • Rape, non-penetrative and penetrative sexual assault 
  • Non-contact sexual crimes, such as grooming and indecent images of children, forcing people to do sexual things to themselves, and sharing sexual images of an adult without their consent (sometimes called ‘revenge porn’). 


Understanding LGBT+ experiences of sexual violence

We understand that the words around sexual violence are difficult ones and can by triggering for survivors. We can help you understand the words that might be used in other contexts, for example if you report to the police or attend a sexual assault referral centre.  

We are mindful that the law does not call sexual assault by one women against another ‘rape’ (it is called serious sexual assault). For some women, this feels like their experience is viewed as less serious by the law. We don’t take it less seriously; we understand the impact of sexual violence by women and we will use the words you want to use. If you want to name your experience as ‘rape’, we support you to do so. If you decide to report to the police, we will help you navigate this process to ensure the impact of your experience is understood. 

We also understand that sexual violence experienced by LGBT+ people can be motivated by homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and acephobia. It can be perpetrated by non-LGBT+ people or it can happen within LGBT+ relationships and communities. We know how sexual violence impacts on LGBT+ people’s sense of self, identity, relationships and community, as well as the individual response to trauma.  



How to get help

If you or someone you know is LGBT+ has experienced sexual abuse or violence, Galop is here for you.

Get help

Information for LGBT+ survivors

Information for professionals

Our report into the use of sexual violence within "conversion" practices in the UK

Our research into the use of sexual violence as a part of so-called "conversion therapies"

Related content

If you’d like to reflect on LGBT+ experiences of sexual violence further, or get support here are some places you might find helpful.

Support services

Our LGBT+ advocacy services support LGBT+ people who have experienced or are experiencing abuse or violence.


Our helplines are available for anyone in the UK who is LGBT+ and has experienced domestic abuse or hate crime. We are also there for friends, family members, and professionals supporting LGBT+ victims of abuse.


If you want to learn more, we've created a number of resources with information about LGBT+ experiences of abuse