THE Victorian Government has announced it will provide funding for men’s behaviour change programs across the state, part of which will be given to an LGBTI organisation for the first time.

The move will see a total of $1.5 million distributed to support services that focus on men with a history of family or domestic violence, including one run by the Victorian AIDS Council (VAC).

The VAC will receive $145,000 to review and expand ReVisioning, a program offered to gay and bisexual men who use violence in their relationships.

VAC chief executive Simon Ruth said the conversation around family violence has largely had a heterosexual focus.

“Around 10 years ago they did a reform of the family violence sector and the conversation very much became gendered – male perpetrators, female victims,” he told the Star Observer.

“The problem with that is that same-sex attracted couples don’t fit in that model.

“Same-sex attracted men are more likely to be victims of homophobic violence and family violence than they are to be perpetrators, and the reasons one might become a perpetrator are different with same-sex attracted men.”

Ruth believes the funding will help to advance some of the issues faced by LGBTI people when it comes to family or domestic violence.

He also said the recent Royal Commission into Family Violence helped place a focus on LGBTI family violence.

“When police walk into the home of a gay or lesbian couple, they’re not trained in how to manage that situation,” he said.

“How do intake workers or police deal with people in our community who don’t fit into that male-female gendered violence?

“There’s never been a review around how these programs should be for same-sex attracted men so this is an exciting opportunity, and it’s about time.”

Families Minister Jenny Mikakos believes more support is needed for sexual and gender diverse people experiencing family violence.

“We’ve heard evidence given to the family violence royal commission that estimates around one in three lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender Australians have been in an abusive relationship,” she told the Star Observer.

“For the first time we are providing funding to an LGBTIQ organisation for men’s family violence support services because more support is needed in this area.

“The funding will help reduce waitlists for men’s behaviour support services and provide specialised services and programs for Victoria’s LGBTIQ community.

“We are working to change attitudes and behaviours so we can break the cycle of family violence.”

The funding is part of the Victorian Government’s $16 million Family Violence Fund which was created to respond to the increased demand for services.

If you are experiencing family violence help is available by calling Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visiting lifeline.org.au.

However, if you’re in a situation that requires emergency help, call 000 for police.

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