National and international research suggests that the rates of family violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) people is as high as, if not higher than, family violence against heterosexual, cisgendered women and their children.
Understand the issues
There are commonalities between the underlying drivers of violence against heterosexual, cisgendered women and their children, and violence against people from LGBTI communities.
In both cases, gender norms and structures operate to create inequalities between women and men — violence may be enacted when these norms are challenged.
The existence of LGB people represents a ‘challenge’ to the assumption that ‘real’ men and ‘real’ women are necessarily heterosexual (‘heterosexism’). Intersex, transgender and gender diverse people also challenge the assumption that binary biological sex determines a binary gender (‘cisgenderism’).
In line with the work being done to prevent violence against heterosexual, cisgendered women and their children, challenging prejudicial attitudes towards LGBTIQ people and transforming hierarchical and harmful notions of gender are key actions to prevent all forms of violence against people from LGBTIQ communities.
Things you can do
LGBTIQ people should be engaged in the planning, design and implementation of all prevention efforts. In order to maximise prevention success, activities should reflect the lived realities of LGBTIQ people’s lives.
Address the structural drivers of violence against LGBTI people. This requires addressing gender structures and heterosexism. This involves working at both the socio-structural level (such as through policy, legislation and institutional practices), and at the community or individual level (such as through direct participation or community mobilisation approaches).
Uphold and promote human rights. Many people from LGBTIQ communities are likely to experience multiple and compounding forms of discrimination and oppression. Taking a human rights-based approach to prevention requires prioritising and addressing discrimination experienced by those most marginalised in our community.
Adopt an intersectional approach that acknowledges and responds to the diversity and diverse needs within LGBTIQ communities, including initiatives that are tailored to meet the needs of diferent groups within LGBTIQ communities.
Ensure planning allows time, space and resources for ongoing critical reflection, and reflective practice. This may involve all prevention project personnel reflecting on their own experiences of power and privilege, and recognising the areas where an individual benefits from privilege, as well as areas where privilege is not afforded.
Partner or align with other prevention efforts to maximise effectiveness. A significant amount of work has already been undertaken in various areas to promote the health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ people. Although this work has largely taken place in discrete policy areas, collectively, there is a wealth of knowledge and information with respect to working with people from LGBTIQ communities.
Be evidence-based and evidence-building. Prevention of family violence against LGBTIQ people is an emerging area, so there is a pressing need to invest in evaluation, documentation and monitoring of new programs and policies to identify any unintended consequences early, and to build and share evidence of what works.
Research about prevention of violence in LGBTIQ communities
Our Watch, Dr Philomena Horsley and GLHV@ARCSHS (now Rainbow Health Victoria), La Trobe University, were commissioned by the Victorian Government to undertake a comprehensive literature review exploring family violence against people from lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse and intersex (LGBTIQ) communities.
This is a short summary of a report called Primary prevention of family violence against people from LGBTIQ communities – An analysis of existing research. This was a research project commissioned by the Victorian State Government.