Opening doors to LGBTI people in the Domestic Violence sector

October 31, 2016

The 2016 STOP Domestic Violence Conference will be held over 5-7 December at the Mercure Brisbane, QLD. Dr Philomena Horsley joins us this December in Brisbane to discuss Rainbow standards:“Opening doors to LGBTI people in the Domestic Violence sector.

Dr Philomena Horsley
Dr Philomena Horsley

In Australia the identification and response to domestic violence has focussed on the outcome of unequal power relationships between heterosexual men and women. However this approach has excluded or hidden the domestic violence occurring in lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) relationships.

GLHV research suggests that LGBTI people experience the same or even higher levels of domestic violence as heterosexual couples, and people in same sex relationships experience a similar risk of intimate partner homicide to those in heterosexual relationships. Currently, little exists to meet the needs of LGBTI men and women who are victims – or perpetrators – of domestic abuse.

The recent Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence considered the particular needs of the LGBTI communities and made significant recommendations with regard to LGBTI-specific resources, research, programs and community education campaigns. It also recommended improvements to family violence services to enable them to better respond to these needs, including clarifying guidelines related to non-discriminatory practice.

This paper presents the evidence base for these new initiatives, with a particular focus on the Royal Commission’s requirement that all funded family violence services achieve Rainbow Tick accreditation by December 2018. The Rainbow Tick is a national accreditation program, developed by GLHV in conjunction with QIP, which assists health and human service organisations to develop services that are inclusive of LGBTI people. It is incorporates standards related to organisational capability, cultural safety, professional development, access and intake processes, consumer participation and disclosure and documentation. I discuss some of the the challenges ahead for the DV sector in Victoria as it works to ensure that the rights of LGBTI people to be safe at home are not considered an’optional extra’.

Philomena works as a Researcher Fellow and Senior Trainer at Gay and Lesbian Health Victoria, based at La Trobe University. She also lectures on gender, health and violence at the University of Melbourne. She is a medical anthropologist and former community health worker with interests in the areas of gender, sexuality, disability, medical practice and mortality.  Her research has included a national project on older women’s experiences of sexual assault, an ethnographic study of the decline of the hospital autopsy, and lesbians’ experience of life-threatening illness. She has extensive expertise in the area of research ethics, and is currently a member of both the Victorian Department of Justice and Scope Victoria’s Human Research Ethics Committees, as well as a Director of Praxis Australia. In 2001, she was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll for Women and awarded a Centenary Medal for her work in women’s health, disability and HIV/AIDS.

For more information on the 2016 STOP Domestic Violence Conference and to secure your registration, please visit the conference website.


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