New report finds LGBTIQ+ parents face unique risk factors for family violence on journey to parenthood
A report commissioned by Respect Victoria has found that LGBTIQ+ parents and carers are experiencing marginalisation, discrimination, and inadequate support on the journey to parenthood, leading to an increased risk of family violence.
The report, New Parents New Possibilities was conducted by drummond street’s Centre for Family Research and Evaluation, is the first of its kind in Australia.
“This report is a call to action for organisations, workplaces and families to ensure that LGBTIQ+ parents and carers feel safe, supported and respected on their journey to parenthood,” said Respect Victoria’s Acting CEO Amy Prendergast.
The research found that a focus on heterosexual, cisgender and biological relationships directly contributes to the discrimination or lack of support experienced by LGBTIQ+ parents and carers when starting a family.
Previous research conducted by the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) illustrated the increased risk of family violence that cisgender heterosexual couples face during the transition to parenthood. To access the AIFS 'Domestic and family violence in pregnancy and early parenthood' research, visit the AIFS website. New Parents, New Possibilities is the first research report of its kind highlighting the unique experiences and factors that LGBTIQ+ parents and carers face.
“The parents and carers we spoke to as part of this research told us that more often than not, the services they accessed were not set up to safely support LGBTIQ+ parents and families,” said drummond street CEO Karen Field.
“They also told us that the discrimination and lack of understanding goes beyond services to broader society – family members, friends, colleagues and parenting groups were often unsupportive, made assumptions based on gendered norms, or were discriminatory,” said Ms Field.
One research participant, who identifies as non-binary and queer, said: “You know that you're under an extra level of scrutiny, and you know if you need additional services or supports they're probably not going to be LGBTIQ aware and informed. That's just going to add an extra level of stress to your relationship and your life.”
The report found that LGBTIQ+ parents and carers frequently face misgendering, exclusionary legal documents and policies, outdated assumptions around gender identity and sexuality, and in some cases, assumptions that LGBTIQ+ people do not experience family violence.
“The concept ‘it takes a village’ should not just be for families who fit into a certain category,” said Ms Prendergast. “We all have a role to play in supporting LGBTIQ+ parents, carers and families, and ultimately preventing family violence before it starts.”
To access the 'New Parents, New Possibilities' full research report, visit Respect Victoria's Research webpage.
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