With legalised same-sex partnerships high on the political agenda, it is important to remember that just like heterosexual relationships, our relationships can be wonderful, exciting and at times fraught with complications and challenges. Unfortunately just like heterosexual relationships, ours are also not immune to abuse.

Thankfully, for those who are in abusive relationships, or even those who are just finding it a bit challenging, there is help out there.

Relationships Australia in the Illawarra is an excellent service for those who want to work at challenges that they are facing in their relationships. Though you might assume that this organisation is intended just for heterosexual relationships, Relationships Australia in Wollongong has a range of resources and skills to cater for same-sex couples and families who face struggles and conflicts in their day-to-day lives and environments.

For those who think they may be in an abusive relationship, this GLBT-friendly organisation is still there to help, and there are a range of other services and support networks available for those in the Illawarra and surrounding areas -“ as well as throughout the state. The RSPCA even has a safe beds for pets scheme in the Illawarra, providing emergency accommodation to your fluffier loved ones in situations where domestic violence drives you from your home.

If you are concerned about your relationship, please contact your local ACON branch or Sydney office to connect with your local networks. If you feel you may be in an abusive relationship, it would be good to look at the ACON Anti-Violence website section on same-sex domestic violence (http://ssdv.acon.org.au) and, if it sounds like your situation, get in touch with someone from the project around ways that you can get assistance.

Remember there are people out there to help, and there”s no pride in domestic violence.

Some useful contacts:

Domestic Violence Line: 1800 656 463

Relationships Australia: 1300 364 277

Gay & Lesbian Counselling Service of NSW: 9207 2800

The Illawarra Women”s Health Centre also has an excellent counselling and domestic violence program. They can be contacted on: 4296 7077

If you require any additional information about groups, services or organisations in the Illawarra you can contact ACON Illawarra on 4226 1163. Trevor Slattery is the Education and Community Development Officer for ACON”s Illawarra Branch.

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