During this year’s Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month, the Federation of Community Legal Centres Victoria highlighted the importance of inclusive and culturally safe services like the LGBTIQ Legal Service, and the need for working with community partners to provide access to legal services for vulnerable populations, alongside Eastern Community Legal Centre, Loddon Campaspe Community Legal Centre and St Kilda Legal Service.
From the piece:
“One ground-breaking program working to address domestic and family violence belongs to the LGBTIQ Legal Service.
According to the LGBTIQ Legal Service, the queer and gender diverse community experience similar rates of intimate partner and family violence to women in the heterosexual community, but there is a gap in service delivery tailored to the specific issues and concerns faced by the community.
Tanja Golding, managing lawyer at LGBTIQ Legal Service, told the ABC Radio’s Conversation Hour, “their gender identity or their sexuality is actually used in the family violence perpetrated against them.”
Some studies, Golding says, have found concerning rates of inter-partner violence, with Latrobe University finding 41.7% of LGBTIQ people reporting some form of violence in a relationship.
Historically, without inclusive or accessible services, members of the LGBTIQ community have been left as vulnerable as heterosexual victim-survivors with fewer avenues to seek assistance.
Many LGBTIQ individuals are deterred from seeking legal assistance due to fears of misunderstanding or discrimination, according to Golding.
Initiated in 2021, the LGBTIQ Family Violence Program is the first dedicated state-wide program of its kind in Victoria, and is helping to reach out to vulnerable members of the queer community.”