Page last updated at 19:41 GMT, Thursday, 24 September 2009 20:41 UK

Call to gay victims of violence

Angela Gilraine said there should be safe houses for gay people in the Midlands who suffer abuse

A woman who was regularly assaulted by her same-sex partner has backed a campaign calling for gay people to report domestic violence.

Angela Gilraine, from Birmingham, said her ex-partner beat her with sticks and criticised her in public.

She appeared with West Midlands Police head Chris Sims at the nightclub launch of the Unzip the Violence campaign.

Officers believe a quarter of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender couples have experienced domestic abuse.

However, few victims come forward to report incidents.

'Giving confidence'

Addressing people from the gay community at Nightingales in Birmingham on Wednesday evening, Chief Constable Mr Sims urged domestic violence victims to contact police.

The campaign was created by the charity Pink Shield, a group which aims to promote better understanding between the gay community, West Midlands Police and other agencies.

West Midlands Police chief Chris Sims
Mr Sims urged people to report domestic abuse

Ms Gilraine, who eventually sought help and left the abusive relationship with her alcoholic girlfriend, believes people must report incidents.

She said a major problem was that domestic abuse victims in the Midlands who were gay, bisexual or transgender did not have a safe house to escape to.

Mr Sims added there had been a lot of progress in the relationship between police and the gay community but there was "always more progress to make".

He said: "It would fair to say 20 years ago we would not have been sat here in a club in the gay quarter in Birmingham.

"And my officers wouldn't be regularly meeting with the gay community patrolling the area and giving people confidence."

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