Diverse & Resilient recently launched a new statewide Room to Be Safe program and resource line serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) survivors of intimate partner or community violence and their loved ones.

Survivors or their loved ones can call or text 414-856-LGBT (5428) to receive assistance, referrals, support and safety planning. This is not a 24-hour crisis line, but will help will be available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The line will be monitored nights and weekends. In a crisis situation, call CAP Services’ 24-hour crisis line 1-800-472-3377.

“LGBTQ community members have indicated to us through community readiness assessments that one of their main desires is to have their first ‘outcry’ to talk about violence in their relationships be with an LGBTQ person,” said Kathy Flores, statewide LGBTQ Anti-Violence Coordinator for Diverse & Resilient. “It is our hope that the Room to Be Safe line reduces a barrier for survivors reaching out for help.”

According to The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs 2015 report on LGBTQ & HIV-Affected Intimate Partner Violence, we know that 44 percent of LGBTQ survivors attempting to access emergency shelter were denied and 71 percent reported being denied because of their gender identity. The Room to Be Safe line will help connect survivors to open and affirming programs.

Advocates with the Room to Be Safe Program, which is funded through a Wisconsin Department of Children and Family Services grant, work with domestic violence programs across the state to help provide more inclusive and accessible services for LGBTQ survivors in Wisconsin. Locally, they work with CAP Services’ advocates.

“We understand that LGBTQ survivors often face additional obstacles to accessing services,” said Jane Benzschawel, Family Crisis Center Director. “We want to actively increase access to services and ensure to the best of our ability that local services are meeting the needs of LGBTQ survivors.”

For more information on the Room to Be Safe Program visit roomtobesafe.org.