Domestic violence (DV) has been a hidden issue in our communities, however, we are beginning to talk about it more.

People are telling their stories, we’re understanding the issues for transgender and intersex people better, services are beginning to treat the issue seriously and many more people are seeking support.

Essentially, our communities are becoming more aware and courageous, workers are getting trained and police too are offering more support.

Lots of initiatives are underway: a service providers’ forum was held in Penrith recently, the Another Closet website — www.anothercloset.com.au — has been overhauled, a national conference organised by the recently renamed LGBTIQ Domestic Violence Interagency will take place in Sydney on September 16, and the Inner City Legal Centre’s Safe Relationships Project continues to offer excellent legal support.

However, there are still big challenges. Abuse can be hard for us to recognise and discuss. There’s a lot of shame about it and we might not know where to go for support. Reporting or asking for help can be difficult.

Friends or family might not get it, we may not trust services — or they mightn’t support us well — and supportive accommodation for men can be limited.

ACON’s Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project is working hard in these areas too. Recently we launched a new DV workers Toolkit, and hot off the press is the executive summary of a new research report, One Size Does Not Fit All, which pinpoints DV service gaps and makes recommendations for change.

We are rolling out statewide training this year, we continue to offer support to people affected by DV and we work closely with many services to ensure information is available to those who need it.

Shining a light on the issue, dispelling fear and misconceptions and creating safe pathways out of abuse is what our work is all about.

info: For support, contact ACON’s Lesbian and Gay Anti-Violence Project at avp@acon.org.au or 02 9206 2116.

By Robert Knapmanm, AVP coordinator.

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