Supporting LGBTIQA+ people
experiencing family violence

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Everyone deserves to be respected, loved and supported to be themselves. This means supporting everyone to identify and express their gender and sexuality in ways that make them happy. 

Safe and Equal is bringing the Are You Safe at Home? initiative to Midsumma Carnival 2024, to raise awareness and increase safety and support for all people who may be experiencing family violence.   

We all deserve to feel safe and protected at home. But for some of us, home is not always a safe place. 

What is family violence?

Family violence is when your partner, ex, parent, carer, family member or someone you’re in a chosen family relationship with uses threatening, controlling or violent behaviour that makes you scared for your safety and wellbeing. 

Family violence experienced by LGBTIQA+ people can include a range of verbal, emotional, psychological, financial, cultural, technological, physical, and sexual abuse, intimidation and threats.

People use a wide range of abusive behaviours to maintain power and control in relationships, and for LGBTIQA+ folks, this violence may target their gender identity or sexuality. 

For LGBTIQA+ people, family violence is driven by social ideas that exclude and stigmatise LGBTIQA+ people and normalise the violence they experience. These ideas inlcude rigid gender norms, but also cisnormativity and heteronormativity.  

The assumption that everyone is straight and cisgender is harmful, it suggests that something is wrong with LGBTIQA+ bodies, identities and relationships. We need to ensure the autonomy, acceptance and celebration of a diversity of bodies, genders, sexualities, social roles and relationships (Pride in Prevention).

We need to work together to change the rigid and binary ideas about sexuality and gender that drive family and gender-based violence. No matter what form it takes, family violence is never acceptable. 

Types of family violence

No matter what form it takes, family violence is never acceptable. It is never okay for someone to:
  • Physically attack or hurt you  
  • Shame you about your gender expression or sexuality  
  • Threaten to ‘out’ you 
  • Threaten to share your HIV status without your consent 
  • Prevent you from affirming or expressing your gender  
  • Deny or control your hormones or medication
  • Gaslight you about your gender, sexuality or experiences 
  • Control where you go or who you speak to 
  • Damage or take your property 
  • Threaten you or your loved ones, including pets and animals  
  • Stalk or monitor you, including online through dating apps 
  • Force you to do sexual things you don’t want to do 
  • Regularly put you down, humiliate you or attack your self-esteem 
  • Control your finances and financial decisions 
  • Threaten to take away something you value, like custody of your children or your visa status 
  • Stop you from practising religious, spiritual or cultural beliefs and rituals 
  • Make you feel scared to say ‘no’ to doing something  

Statistics

Historically, research has tended to focus on men’s violence against women, and there has been a lack of data about family violence experienced by LGBTIQA+ communities. Many large population-level studies do not collect data on sexual orientation or gender outside of a binary focus on male/female. But we do have important data that tells us more about this issue. 

Some statistics about the prevalence of family violence for LGBTIQA+ people include:  

More than 2 in 5 LGBTIQ people reported ever being in an intimate relationship where they were abused by their partner/s. A similar proportion reported experiencing violence from family member(Private Lives 3)

For bisexual women and trans and gender diverse people (particularly trans women), rates of intimate partner violence are even higher. (Pride in Prevention) 

53% of trans and gender diverse people reported experiencing sexual violence or coercion. (Australian Trans and Gender Diverse Sexual Health Survey)

Getting help

Because of biphobia, homophobia, transphobia, heterosexism and heteronormativity, there are different risks and barriers that may stop LGBTIQA+ adults, couples, parents and young people from accessing support for family violence.

It is important to note that  LGBTIQA+ people may not always be able to identify or feel safe to report their experiences of violence. However, if you have experienced or are experiencing some of the behaviours listed above, it’s possible that it could be family violence. 

You deserve to be safe, happy and supported in your relationships. Support is available if you do not feel that way.  

Accessing support

LGBTIQA+ people have a right to live safe and free from family violence. If you’re an LGBTIQA+ person experiencing family violence, you are not alone. You have a number of options.
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You can contact an LGBTIQA+ community-led service or a ‘mainstream’ family violence service. Many specialist family violence services have undergone Rainbow Tick accreditation to support them in providing inclusive services. A list of these services can be found here

You can contact whichever type of service you are most comfortable with. You might want to reach out to a service and ask questions, to see if they are a good fit for you, before deciding to go ahead with them.

Access support in Victoria from the following services:

If you are at immediate risk of harm, please call 000 for police support.

Rainbow Door
Free information, support, and referrals for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, intersex, asexual and queer people, friends and family.

Safe Steps
Crisis support and accommodation for anyone in Victoria who is experiencing or afraid of family violence.

Call 1800 015 188
24 hours, 7 days

Online Chat
9am-9pm
Monday-Friday

Email
safesteps@safesteps.org.au

safesteps.org.au

Victoria Police LGBTI Liaison Officers
LGBTI Liaison Officers (also known as GLLOs) are located at police stations throughout the state. They have been provided with extra training to support members of the LGBTIQA+ community.

Call 03 9247 6944 to find out your closest LGBTI Liaison Officer.

Sexual Assault Crisis Line 
24-hour telephone crisis counselling service for people who have experienced both past and recent sexual assault. 

Call 1800 806 292 

sacl.com.au

DirectLine
24-hour drug and alcohol counselling and referral service

Call 1800 888 236 

directline.org.au

 

Suicide Call Back Service 
24-hour telephone counselling to anyone who is feeling suicidal or anyone who is supporting someone who is feeling suicidal.

Call 1300 659 467 

suicidecallbackservice.org.au

Switchboard – QLIFE 
Phone counselling for the LGBTIQA+ community between 3 pm to midnight every night. 

Call 1800 184 527 

switchboard.org.au

The Orange Door
Support and services for people at risk, including for family and domestic violence or abuse, and for families needing extra support with the wellbeing and development of children.

Refer to The Orange Door website for location phone numbers
9am-5pm
Monday-Friday

orangedoor.vic.gov.au

Lifeline 
24-hour telephone counselling to anyone who is in crisis or feeling suicidal. 

Call 13 11 14 

lifeline.org.au

Thorne Harbour Health
An LGBTIQ+ community-controlled organisation that devises and delivers effective community-driven health and wellbeing programs, advocating to reduce stigma and discrimination.

thorneharbour.org

Djirra
Culturally safe family violence and legal support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Call 1800 105 303
9am-10pm
Monday-Friday

djirra.org.au

Koorie Pride Victoria
An Aboriginal-controlled community organisation that promotes healing, social and emotional wellbeing through storytelling with the Koorie communities.

kooriepridevic.org.au

Senior Rights Victoria
Support for older people experiencing or at risk of family violence and elder abuse.

Call 1300 368 821
10am-5pm
Monday-Friday

seniorsrights.org.au