The initials LGBTI stand for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex. You might also see it written as LGBTIQ, where the Q stands for 'queer'. All of the content on the 1800RESPECT website is written to be inclusive of all people. However, we know that for some people there can be specific needs or extra barriers around accessing support. This content looks at the issues faced by people who identify as LGBTI who are impacted by sexual, domestic and family violence.
Violence against people who identify as LGBTI includes a range of behaviours. Sexual assault, domestic and family violence and controlling behaviour based on sexuality, gender or identity, are all part of the picture. Heterosexim, homophobia, transphobia and cisgenderism play a powerful role in shaping the way we think about and respond to sexual assault, domestic and family violence.
Due to a lack of information and reporting that identifies violence or controlling behaviours in LGBTI relationships as sexual, domestic or family violence, the issue is often not well understood.
Mainstream media and the majority of information often focuses on heterosexual relationships where men perpetrate violence against their female partner and children. This makes violence in LGBTI relationships harder to recognise.
When present in LGBTI relationships, sexual, domestic and family violence can involve perpetrators using tactics unique to those relationships. It can also involve increased risk due to the valid fears that people who identify as LGBTI may have about disclosing violence.
These can include:
A lack of information that acknowledges intimate partner violence in a diversity of relationships contribteus to the barriers for accessing services. Likewise, a lack of awareness of violence based on assumptions of gender and sexuality also contribute to the problem. Understanding sexual assault, domestic and family violence is a good start.
Organisational policies and practices need to be adapted to include violence against people who identify as LGBTI to be truly effective. All staff working with any client should have regular LGBTI inclusivity and awareness training. Where possible, training should address responding to domestic and family violence that occurs in LGBTI communities.
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 to address it with 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 an increased risk of nondisclosure. More information on the types of discrimination that can be experienced by LGBTI communities can be found in the Understanding the issues tab in this section.
Building an inclusive service by embedding inclusive practices into our services will directly address the needs of the LGBTI communities. All our knowledge around increasing safety applies and there are practical things we can do to respond appropriately. A number of resources can be utilised to improve inclusive practice at the level of your organisation.