// June 4th, 2015 // Relationship violence, Within Australia, Within Victoria

Troy Nankervis writes about domestic and family violence including many accounts that feature in a submission prepared by the National LGBTI Health Alliance to be heard in the current Senate inquiry Domestic violence in Australia. Read his piece in: Right Now – Human Rights in Australia

Anti-Violence Project Victoria executive director Greg Adkins says greater awareness is key to incite necessary changes to services and support, and that the “visibility” of the LGBTIQ community is essential in starting a better conversation. “If relationship violence is hidden all over, and awareness is down, we’re even less likely to have it discussed and so victims of violence feel even more isolated because of a lack of visibility,” he says.

How can we build awareness? “We need resources,” Adkins says. “We need not just one-off campaigns, but national and state frameworks that resource these issues.”

“Relationship violence is too important and too much of a canker in Australian society for it to be done by volunteer organisations that are unfunded.”

Dean McWhirter, the Victoria Police Family Violence Command Assistant Commissioner, agrees that cases of LGBTIQ domestic and family violence remain heavily underreported. “Research and our statistics tell us that the majority of family violence is committed by men against women. However, we know that it is an issue which affects the whole Victorian community and is under-reported in the LGBTI community,” he says.

According to Gavi Ansara, Research and Policy Manager at the National LGBTI Health Alliance, this kind of stigma often prevents victims from coming forward. “If there was less stigma and less discrimination, people would feel that it would be easier to seek support from organisations within the sector set up to do that,” he says.

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