Network actions update in support to our LGBT+ community regarding Covid 19 impacts

We provide (6th April) the following updates on actions we have undertaken in support to the particular impacts of Covid 19 on the health, safety, and stautory sector support to community members across Dorset and beyond:

Having worked closely with HMPPS (Her Majesty’s Prison & Probation Service) in the Dorset arwa and South West, we are very pleased to update that guidance we have provided at the request of HMPPS Avon & South Dorset, is being utilised to inform Covid 19 related policy and services by HMPPS in Avon and South Dorset (including The Verne and HMP & YOI Portland), and that HMPPS greatly appreciates the Network’s guidance and support regarding the particular impacts Covid 19 has for those in custody.

We have in recent days alerted Dorset Police and the Office of the Dorset Police & Crime Commissioner (DPCC) to the policing dimension impacts of Covid 19: we have received formal communication back from Dorset Police regarding the issues and needs involved that we have represented, backed by national level research and local Dorset consultation. The Network is delighted that the guidance we have provided is being included in the strategic response (and we believe and hope, operational level response) of Dorset Police, to initiate in the coming days an important LGBT community supportive response to Covid 19 in regard to particular impacts it has unique to our community.

The Network has communicated with the leaders of both BCP Council and Dorset Council on the ASB (Anti Social Behaviour) and safety and safeguarding impacts of Covid 19, that are particular to our LGBT community.

Finally, in regard to the direct healthcare impacts of Covid 19, partly through our direct connection with the Equality & Health Inequalities Team of NHS England, we are developing information resources to support strategy and operational level implementation of both Dorset CCG (NHS) and Public Health Dorset in regard to the medical and public health support needs of our community across Dorset & BCP.

We will keep you updated on all of the above in the coming days. Concluding this important update with a very important alert on those considering or needing in earnest to come out as LGB or T in ‘lockdown’ circumstances (if their families are anti-LGBT), via Pink News, from the Albert Kennedy Trust:

The Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT), a charity that cares for the LGBT+ homeless, has warned young people to “think hard” before coming out at this time.

LGBT charity tells young people to ‘hit pause’ on coming out while in lockdown with parents:

The advice comes as LGBT+ helplines see a surge in calls from people who are stuck self-isolating with abusive family and partners.

“If you’re a young person and you’re thinking of coming out, press pause on that until you get support,” Tim Sigsworth, AKT’s CEO, told Sky News.

He expressed concern for how families may react to their child coming out in this particularly stressful time, and warned of the dangers of being made homeless during the pandemic.

“You can’t predict at these completely unprecedented times how your parents will react. They, like you, are under a lot of stress and they may not react in a positive way.

“We’re all being told to self-isolate, so being on the streets, it has to be the most dangerous place for a vulnerable young person at the moment,” he said.

Councils were asked to house all rough sleepers after the UK went into lockdown, but that can be hard when individuals start showing symptoms of the virus.

Research by AKT last year found that a quarter of UK adults would feel “ashamed” to have an LGBT+ child.

“We had a young person very early on in the crisis who was staying in a hostel, but then started to show symptoms and the hostel asked them to leave,” Sigsworth said.

“They had nowhere to stay and no family; their family had rejected them. They had no work, no options other than the street.”

More than one in ten wouldn’t want their child to bring home a same-sex partner, while one in five would worry about how family members would respond to them having an LGBT+ child.

With the pandemic cutting off alternative options, the situation has significantly worsened for many.

Last month the UK-based LGBT Foundation received its highest number of weekly calls to its helpline since the beginning of the year, more than double the number received in the same period last year.


This makes grim reading, but is an important ‘stress test’ for the statutory sector, especially local authorities and to some extent police and healthcare organisations (GPs and GP ‘clusters’, Public Health Dorset, Dorset CCG and the pan-Dorset NHS foundation trusts), regarding solidity of their policies and related operational level and public communication strategies for those members of our community coming Out as LGB or T in adverse family circumstances. The Network is as all of the organisations and bodies referred to above, leading across the pan-Dorset area to support our most vulnerable LGBT & LGBTQ community members, and the statutory and private sectors in regard to effective delivery at the time of Covid 19 of both the latter.

Please watch this space for more updates!