Say It Out Loud, an LGBTI domestic and family violence prevention campaign run by ACON, will be expanded nationally following a $340,000 funding boost.
Funding from the Department of Social Services will see Say It Out Loud, which was developed for New South Wales, nationalised with relevant state-specific information and referrals.
The two-year funding injection will see the program expand to offer legal information as well as state-by-state support options, referral information and legislation around domestic violence.
ACON’s CEO Nicolas Parkhill says that the resource will be invaluable given that one in three lesbian and gay people having experienced domestic and family violence, with bisexual, transgender and gender diverse people at even greater risk.
“While we know that the physical, emotional and personal costs of DFV in our communities are often the same as they are for non-LGBTIQ people, there are some unique aspects experienced by LGBTIQ people that require messaging that has the ability to reach our communities where mainstream messaging and information has struggled,” Parkhill said.
“Because of several barriers many LGBTIQ people experience in relation to the reporting and discussing of DFV such as discrimination and shame, victims are often left to suffer in isolation and don’t feel comfortable in reporting abuse or seeking help from support services.
“There is also the added fear for many victims that the abusive partner will ‘out’ them to family, friends, or work colleagues, or reveal their HIV status or other personal and health information.
“This is a great opportunity for ACON to share our expertise and resources with other states, particularly where there is little to no dedicated funding for LGBTIQ communities to address DFV.
“It’s heartening to see investment at a federal level that recognises the need across the country for information and support for LGBTIQ people.
“An expansion of the website allows for a greater provision of campaigns, services and programs that support LGBTIQ people experiencing an incredibly distressing issue,” said Parkhill.
Speaking to Star Observer last year, family violence expert Philomena Horsley said that DFV is still seen as a ‘straight’ issue in Australia.
“It’s been a heterosexual model for so long that the LGBTI community hasn’t appeared on anyone’s radar, and if it has, people don’t know how to respond to it,” she said.
“Many still wonder how two women or two men could have violence in their relationship, because they’re the same gender.
“We need more recognition that this is happening in the LGBTI community as well.”
The Queensland government also launched a DFV prevention resource aimed at the LGBTI community last year.
To find out more about the Say It Out Loud resource, visit its website: sayitoutloud.org.au