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What we do

Rainbow Response is a grassroots coalition based in Washington DC that brings together organizations and leaders from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) communities, along with traditional domestic violence service providers and government agencies, to increase the awareness about Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) amid the relationships of LGBTQ individuals. The Coalition works to promote education within the LGBTQ communities and beyond and identifies existing services that are provided in a manner respectful of the unique identities of LGBTQ survivors of IPV, as well as batterers.

RESEARCH AND EDUCATION

Research indicates that intimate partner violence occurs at the same rate in heterosexual relationships as it does in LGBTQ relationships. In 2009, Rainbow Response released a groundbreaking report on IPV in the LGBTQ community based on surveys conducted over a year's time at various community events. This, the first report of its kind for the Washington D.C. metro area, confirmed what national research has shown: 28% of respondents self-identified as survivors of IPV. Emotional abuse, physical violence, and sexual violence were the most common types of abuse experienced. Rainbow Response continues its research endeavors to help bring light to the increased and urgent need for services for LGBTQ survivors. 

Rainbow Response works to engage and educate the public through outreach on college campuses and at LGBTQ community events. LGBTQ Pride Season in the District is one of our busiest times of the year. The Coalition takes an interactive approach to community education; we use a Wheel-of-Fortune style game to teach people about the specifics of same-sex violence and we host town hall discussions where individuals can share their experiences and concerns. Rainbow Response also facilitates healthy relationship workshops where individuals or couples can discuss strategies to ensure that their relationships are healthy and loving.

ADVOCACY

Rainbow Response has written several testimonies advocating for the increased need of an educated response to victims of LGBTQ partner violence. Recently, Rainbow Response has written to offer comments on the Office of Human Rights’ proposed housing regulations to provide guidance concerning housing discrimination and protections for victims of Domestic Violence.

TRAINING AND TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE

One of the first lifelines for those experiencing abuse is law enforcement. Rainbow Response, along with a coalition of other LGBTQ organizations, was successful in developing training modules and facilitating specialized, in-person trainings with both the Metropolitan Police Department and DC's Court Services and Offenders Supervision Agency. Additionally, in conjunction with the Mayor’s Office and several other LGBTQ organizations, Rainbow Response participates in a critical incident task force with the Metropolitan Police Department to ensure that officers are well informed and able to provide culturally competent assistance the LGBTQ community.


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