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A speaker from the UK’s leading national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender helpline organisation was the guest of honour at a recent event in Hereford.

The Broken Rainbow workshop took place at West Mercia Women’s Aid headquarters in Hereford.

Attended by thirty West Mercia Women’s Aid employees – who cover Herefordshire, Worcestershire and Shropshire – the event focussed on how best to support LGBT clients.

The workshop was commissioned because referrals from the LGBT community have been very low for some time.

Speaker Wendy Wilde from Broken Rainbow said: “I was extremely impressed with the knowledge and willingness to engage from all the delegates, so much so that I will be recommending West Mercia Women’s Aid to our users as an inclusive and informed service.”

Wendy’s talk discussed stereotypes and misconceptions about the LGBT community and educated staff about the barriers they might encounter when trying to access services. Break out groups looked at real case studies and discussions centred around how staff would approach support, what they could offer, and how they could overcome challenges.

Jan Frances, Chief Executive of West Mercia Women’s Aid said:
“It is not always easy to acknowledge the existence of domestic abuse within the LGBT community, which is still much under-reported. It is of vital importance that we find ways of offering support that are acceptable to LGBT victims and survivors. Thanks to Broken Rainbow, we are now in a much better position to understand some of the barriers and begin to break them down.”

The workshops take place each quarter with previous speakers including Chaz Akoshile, Joint Head at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Forced Marriage Unit and Zoe Lodrick, a trauma specialist, who spoke about supporting high risk clients and vicarious trauma.