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Issue #1839      September 12, 2018

Call for more family violence services and awareness campaigns

The Victorian LGBTIQ community has called for improved awareness and advertising campaigns on family violence and more LGBTIQ specific family violence services.

The 2018 Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby (VGLRL) community survey found that only 21 percent of respondents were able to identify a LGBTIQ specialist family violence services or organisations.

Further, nearly 30 percent of people when asked, “If a friend said they were experiencing abuse/family violence”, responded “I would offer to support them, but wouldn’t know where to start”.

“We have fabulous LGBTIQ family violence services that have a long history of helping our community, but they need additional support in promoting their services and meeting any increased demand that will follow,” said Dale Park, co-Convenor of the Victorian Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby.

“We need to talk more about family violence, promote the services available and ensure no one falls through the gaps.”

In line with recommendations for the Royal Commission into family violence and the GALFA LGBTQ Homelessness Research Project, training for family violence staff and ensuring there is safe and accessible housing for LGBTIQ people was also identified as priority by the community and listed as one of the ten recommendations put forward by the VGLRL in their summary report.

“LGBTIQ people experiencing family violence need to know that there are specialist housing services that will welcome them, respect their gender identity, understand their relationships and are cognisant of the potential discrimination and prejudice they may have experienced.” said Park

The VGLRL is also calling on faith-based family violence services to take a lead role by providing welcoming and inclusive environments for LGBTIQ people.

“It is crucial that all mainstream services are welcoming and inclusive for LGBTIQ people. Faith-based service providers can play a healing role by making explicit statements that welcome LGBTIQ people and publicly stating that they will not use their religious exemptions to discriminate against LGBTIQ people.” said Park.

The annual survey was conducted with attendees at the 2018 Midsumma Carnival as well as hosting the survey online. There was a good representation from across the LGBTIQ community and in 2018 there was an increase in trans people participating in the survey up from 6.6 percent to 13.8 percent and people living with a disability up from 13.3 percent in 2017 to 24 percent in 2018.

Survey participants on the whole recognised the term family violence as being relevant to LGBTIQ relationships and family situations with 76 percent responding that when hearing the term family violence it applies to LGBTIQ and heterosexual intimate relationships and families structures.

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