Abuse fight widens

Help against domestic violence available for people of diverse sexual orientation.

By Jennifer Whytock

DURHAM, N.C., [04.05.04] – The North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence has launched an initiative that targets abuse in lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, or LGBT, relationships.

The program, Project Rainbow Net, is the first in the state to openly help LGBT citizens with domestic-violence issues, and one of only a few throughout the U.S., says Mary Beth Loucks-Sorrell, the coalition’s interim director.

The initiative aims to inform people that domestic violence happens as often in LGBT relationships as in heterosexual relationships.

The group in March began training sessions for domestic-violence service providers and community groups to improve aid to LGBT abuse victims.

The group also offered training to help LGBT people build healthy relationships and recognize abuse.

Victims of domestic abuse also can find information and a list of resources and services throughout the state on a new website, projectrainbownet.org.

The Denver-based Gill Foundation gave $15,000 to help launch the program last summer, and the coalition hopes to raise more money through a donation button on the new web site.

The statewide coalition includes nonprofits, service providers and individuals working to end domestic violence through forums, legislative advocacy, training, data-gathering and public-education campaigns.

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