UP until 1967, the people Richard Blackburn works with could have been prosecuted for their lifestyle choice.
Since sexual activity between men was decriminalised 42 years ago, British law has moved towards greater support of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights.
But the ramifications of a law which stigmatised those who were not heterosexual were far-reaching.
One of the long-term consequences was a distrust of the police who were responsible for enforcing such an archaic law.
Domestic violence is as prevalent in LGBT relationships as it is in heterosexual ones.
But even today, there is a reluctance among people in the LGBT community to turn to law enforcement agencies when they are victims of domestic violence.
Mr Blackburn is a community development worker in the support and advocacy team at the Brunswick Centre at New North Road in Huddersfield.
The charity provides sexual health and advice and support on HIV and AIDS across Kirklees and Calderdale.
Mr Blackburn said: “The results of domestic violence in LGBT relationships can be the same as in heterosexual relationships – in the worst cases death.
“But because these people are from a minority group, a lot of them have an historic distrust of the police.
“It was illegal to be gay until 1967, and there is still a hangover from that.
“As with any minority group, they are very good at putting barriers up, because they have always faced stigma.
“The police have certainly gone out of their way to show they are as valued as any other members of the community and this week goes a long way towards getting that message across.”
The police do not keep statistics on domestic violence levels within the LGBT community.
Insp Andy Leonard, of Kirklees vulnerable victims unit, acknowledged that they were still trying to build bridges with the community.
He said: “We know they are less likely to contact us because of historic distrust. Traditionally, a man making a complaint against another man might not have been viewed in the same way.
“But we want to get the message out there that they are just as important to us and will be treated in exactly the same way.”
According to the charity Broken Rainbow, which helps domestic violence victims in the LGBT community, one in four experiences domestic violence.
Nearly two-thirds of callers to the charity last year revealed whether they male or female. Six out of 10 of those were men.
Psychological abuse was the most common complaint, followed by physical abuse.
Mr Blackburn said: “It manifests itself in the same ways as with any relationship – the passions that come up when one partner distrusts another. Not allowing them space, friends, checking mobile phones, ringing them to check up on them.
“People always say: ‘I would never stand for that in my relationship.’
“But five years down the line, they might be in exactly the same position.”
In addition to the abuse they may face at the hands of a partner, people in the LGBT community are often at risk from their own families because of prejudice about their lifestyle choice.
According to a 2007 study, 30% experienced violence, abuse or harassment from a family member or someone close to them.
Mr Blackburn said: “You are meant to feel safe in the family unit, and yet it can be very destructive.”
As part of Domestic Violence Week, police will be visiting gay nightspots with cards providing information about support services.
A talk is being held at the Brunswick Centre tonight at 7.30pm.
As well as the police, support for people in the LGBT community who are victims of domestic violence is available from Broken Rainbow. Its helpline number is 0300 9995428.
The Brunswick Centre helpline number is 07955 872307.
But Mr Blackburn encouraged people to contact the police in an emergency.
He said: “The police will treat everybody the same, regardless of gender, sexuality or disability. They have come a long way to get rid of the old attitudes.”