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Responding to LGBTQIA+ experiences of domestic, family and sexual violence

  • Our Introduction to responding page is a good place to start if you are looking for information about how to respond to LGBTIA+ experiences of domestic and family violence and sexual assault
  • Some people who identify as LGBTQIA+ have an understandable fear that they will experience discrimination or judgement when using a mainstream service
  • Responding effectively and sensitively from a person-centred practice framework means developing inclusive practice
  • This page provides information on how to improve your practices when supporting people who identify as LGBTQIA+.

The importance of inclusivity

There are many things we can do to develop inclusive practice. One good starting point is to identify discrimination and unconscious bias in our service provision and the personal views that we may have and that we bring to our professional lives. When we make space to consider our personal bias and identify areas where our service may not be practising inclusivity, we can then start to address the issues through research and evidence-based tools that inform best practice responses.

Fear of discrimination or not being taken seriously, including within the mainstream service system, can make it difficult for people to discuss what is happening in their relationships with partners and family members. This can contribute to increased barriers to disclosure and help-seeking behaviours, contributing to the individuals’ perception (and lived reality) of service isolation and potentially a feeling of ‘not fitting in/belonging’. More information on the types of discrimination that can be experienced by LGBTQIA+ communities can be found in the ‘Understanding the issues' tab in this section.

Developing an Inclusive Practice

Building an inclusive service by embedding inclusive practices into our structure and services can be a key step in addressing and supporting the unique needs of individuals who identify as LGBTQIA+.

Whilst all of our knowledge around increasing safety applies for all individuals seeking support, regardless of how they identify, there are practical things we can do to respond appropriately in consideration of the lived experience of LGBTQIA+ identifying folk. A number of resources can be utilised to improve inclusive practice across your organisation.

Inclusivity in the workplace

  • The organisation embeds LGBTQIA+ inclusive practice into organisational systems
  • Services need to identify, assess and mitigate risks to ensure the physical and cultural safety of LGBTQIA+ clients
  • Professional development is provided to ensure all staff in the service are confident about LGBTQIA+ inclusive practice
  • LGBTQIA+ clients are consulted about, and participate in, the planning, development and review of the service
  • Access and intake processes send a message of welcome to LGBTQIA+ consumers at the point of access and beyond

Inclusivity as an individual

  • Don't assume someone is or isn’t LGBTQIA+ because of the way they look, how they sound or what you see
  • Treating everyone the same is not necessarily meeting their individual needs
  • Create a welcoming, confidential and culturally appropriate environment for LGBTQIA+ people
  • Update your intake forms and talk to people about using inclusive language — for recommended gender and sexuality indicators see the ACON website.
  • Add an inclusivity statement on your webpage or Facebook page
  • Refer to the Pride in Diversity social inclusion initiative

Helpful resources

Well proud is a guide providing evidence-based recommendations to support services to be more responsive to issues related to sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex conditions.

Well proud - a guide to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex inclusive practice

Visit Another Closet

Another Closet is a website for LGBTQIA+ people who are affected by domestic or family violence.

Another Closet 

Visit Say It Out Loud

Say It Out Loud is a website specifically about LGBTQIA+ relationships. It includes information, support and referrals for domestic violence in LGBTQIA+ relationships as well as more information for professionals.

Say It Out Loud 

Visit Transfemme

Transfemme has been created by the Zoe Belle Gender Collective in collaboration with trans women and with cis men who have experience in dating or are in relationships with trans women. The website contains stories, tips and resources to support healthier relationships between trans women and men.