Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a prevalent
issue in heteronormative relationships having received
deserved attention in recent times. However, IPV remains
largely ignored within the transgender community, although
the issue is as prevalent, if not greater, in transgender
relationships. More often than not, professionals working
in the field of IPV are not well equipped to effectively deal
with the issue and are lacking in specific knowledge and
resources for transgender people.
Objectives: To systematically review previous empirical
research investigating IPV in transgender relationships and
the associated barriers to help-seeking. Further this review
aims to delineate key recommendations for research,
policy development and clinical practice.
Methods: A systematic search of PsycINFO, SocINDEX,
MEDLINE and Web of Science was conducted to identify
previous studies on the transgender experience of IPV.
Four studies met the inclusion criteria and were reviewed.
Findings: The results indicated that transgender people
who experienced IPV faced the following barriers to helpseeking:
gender identity victimization, heteronormative
biases, a lack of awareness of specific needs, heteronormativefocused
resources, poor treatment from law enforcement
and a lack of support from the transgender community.
conclusions: Re-thinking the normative gender binary
when it comes to IPV will shift the victimization of transgender
people accessing services when they have experienced IPV.
This includes training into trans-specific issues, review and
overhaul of heteronormative policies and beliefs and taking
a collaborative approach. Recommendations are made for
the development of specific resources, training for service
providers and future research.