On this page
Why is this campaign important?
As a society, we’ve made significant steps towards supporting, celebrating and respecting LGBTIQ+ communities. Our LGBTIQ+ communities are rich and diverse and can give people connection and a sense of identity and culture. But we know that some LGBTIQ+ people still don’t feel safe or comfortable ‘coming out’ or affirming their sexuality or gender identity. Whilst the majority of young LGBTIQ+ people feel supported by friends, there is still work to be done to ensure that all LGBTIQ+ people feel safe, supported and celebrated by family, peers and the general community.
Immediate family are uniquely placed to provide emotional and practical support to LGBTIQ+ relatives. Sadly, support, understanding and safety are not always guaranteed for people who discuss their sexuality and/or gender identity with family. Families should be a place of love and support. The damage inflicted when LGBTIQ+ people are met with rejection, discrimination and abuse perpetrated by family members can have incredibly negative consequences.
No one should experience violence or discrimination because of their sexuality or gender identity. Listen, learn and speak up to support the LGBTIQ+ people in your family. Lead with respect and ask what they need to feel safe. Your support can make a world of difference.
To find out more about supporting LGBTIQ+ family, visit our communities of respect page.
What does the data tell us?
Data on family violence experienced by LGBTIQ+ people is incredibly minimal, particularly with regards to violence experienced from within families. The below statistics are from one of the largest national studies to date investigating LGBTQ+ health and wellbeing, published by La Trobe in 2020. The report shows that:
- More than six in ten LGBTQ+ people in Australia have experienced family violence.
- Parents are the most common perpetrators of violence within families. For 70% of participants in the research, a parent/s was at least one of the perpetrators of violence. 30% also experienced violence from a sibling/s, and 20% from extended family.
- Verbal abuse is most common (41% of respondents), followed closely by LGBTQ-related abuse (40%), emotional abuse (39%), and physical abuse (24%).
Note: The researchers of this report noted that they were not able to recruit a suitable number of people with intersex variations to ensure data is reflective of experiences, which is why the acronym LGBTQ+ is used above.
What does family violence look like for LGBTIQ+ people?
Family violence experienced by LGBTIQ+ people is driven by some of the same factors as violence experienced in heterosexual partnerships or families, such as rigid gender norms and stereotypes. But, forms of violence and drivers can be very specific to a person’s sexuality or gender identity.
Family violence can manifest as verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, psychological, or financial. LGBTIQ+ people can experience unique forms of violence from perpetrators including:
- Using a person’s sexuality or gender identity to assert power and control (also known homophobia, biphobia, transphobia or discrimination against people with intersex variations)
- Rejection by family members and a belief that LGBTIQ+ people should deny their true selves to ‘fit in’ with family
- Threatening to ‘out’ a partner or family member to their family, workplace or friends
- Revealing or threatening to reveal the HIV status of a partner or family member
- Hiding or withholding hormones or gender-affirming medication
- Purposely misgendering, focusing on a person’s birth-assigned sex or purposely deadnaming a person (deadnaming means using a person’s former name without their consent)
- Faith or religious-motivated abuse or isolation.
Read more about the drivers of family violence against LGBTIQ+ people in the Pride in Prevention Evidence Guide on Rainbow Health’s website.
What are the barriers to support?
LGBTIQ+ people face many of the same barriers to support that heterosexual and/or cisgender people do, including difficulty recognising family violence, safety concerns, friends uncertain about how to offer support, and reliance on a perpetrator for access to finances or housing. There are several barriers that are unique to LGBTIQ+ communities, including:
Services for victims sometimes specifically refer to cisgender women and/or children in their communications, and can primarily refer to heterosexual relationships, excluding LGBTIQ+ people
Services for perpetrators almost always refer to men and heterosexual relationships in their advertisements and communications, excluding LGBTIQ+ people.
If you are unsure about asking for help, remember everyone has the right to be safe. No person should be subjected to any form of violence, discrimination or abuse. For support, reach out to the team at Rainbow Door.
Wondering how you can best support an LGBTIQ+ family member, friend or colleague? Rainbow Door are available to provide you with advice. You can also head to our communities of respect page.
What does support look like?
Discrimination and abuse can take many different forms for LGBTIQ+ people. Offering support if you witness discrimination, supporting a family member, friend or colleague when they need it, or doing the research to become better educated on sexuality and gender identity is powerful. Find out more about how to support LGBTIQ+ people in your life, and how to be a good ally by visiting our communities of respect page.
Where can I go for support?
If you are experiencing or are at risk of family violence, reach out to the following services for support. If you are concerned about a loved one or would like advice on how to best support them, Rainbow Door and Safe Steps both take calls from family and friends of LGBTIQ+ people.
- Rainbow Door provides free specialist advice to LGBTIQ+ people and their friends and families. Rainbow Door is open 10am – 5pm, everyday and can be accessed via phonecall, text or email. Call 1800 729 367, SMS 0480 017 246, email: email@example.com or visit the Rainbow Door website.
- queerspace is an LGBTIQ+ health and wellbeing support service run by Drummond Street Services. The service provides counselling, peer support groups and seminars as well as professional development training and support for organisations who work with LGBTIQ+ people and their families. queerspace is open Monday-Friday, 9am – 5pm phone 03 9663 6733 or visit the queerspace website.
- QLife is available to provide advice to LGBTIQ+ people from 3pm-12am (midnight) everyday, by phone 1800 184 527 and webchat. Visit the Qlife website.
- Safe Steps is available 24/7 to support people in Victoria who are experiencing or at risk of experiencing family violence or abuse. Phone 188 015 188, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org Visit the Safe Steps website to use the webchat service.
- 1800RESPECT is available 24/7 by phone or webchat with counsellors on deck to support people impacted by family violence, abuse or sexual assault. Visit the 1800Respect website.
- Thorne Harbour Health provide counselling and support to LGBTIQ+ community members experiencing family violence. Thorne Harbour Health is open Monday – Thursday 9am – 6pm and Friday 9am – 5pm free call 1800 134 840. Visit the Thorne Harbour Health website.
If you are concerned for your immediate safety or that of someone else, please contact the police in your state or territory or call Triple Zero (000) for emergency services.
Social media toolkit
Respect Victoria will post ‘Pride Respect Equality’ campaign content to Facebook and Twitter and we encourage you to share our posts. If you’re posting on your own social media accounts, feel free to tag us:
To promote the Pride Respect Equality campaign, we encourage you to download the cover photos and social tiles featured below and post to your social media account – feel free to use or take inspiration from the suggested posts below.
Suggested Facebook posts
- Supporting LGBTIQ+ family is a powerful way to call out discrimination #PrideRespectEquality
- When you show up for LGBTIQ+ family you foster love and acceptance #PrideRespectEquality
- Celebrating healthy relationships promotes respect. Your support makes a difference #PrideRespectEquality
- Discrimination is wasted energy. Celebrate healthy relationships #PrideRespectEquality
- Educating yourself matters. Be the best ally you can be - learn the LGBTIQ+ alphabet #PrideRespectEquality
- It's a beautiful thing, to be happy #PrideRespectEquality
- Support. Respect. Celebrate LGBTIQ+ family #PrideRespectEquality
- Outdated stereotypes about gender and sexuality hold us all back. Your support makes a world of difference #PrideRespectEquality