THE Victorian government has announced it will support specialised family violence services for the LGBTI community.

Minister for Equality Martin Foley has announced $3 million over four years to develop comprehensive specialist services for LGBTI Victorians who experience or are at risk of family violence. This adds to the $1 million allocated for the initiative in 2016–2017.

The funding will support family violence referral, counselling and support, peer support, early intervention and perpetrator intervention programs.

The services will also involve consultation to mainstream family violence organisations across Victoria.

Supported by the Victorian LGBTI Taskforce, the services will bring together expertise from the LGBTI and family violence sectors to provide increased support for Victoria’s LGBTI communities.

“We are proud to be supporting LGBTI family violence survivors, providing them with specialist care and support in rebuilding their lives,” said Foley.

“We know that Victorians from LGBTI communities face significant barriers to accessing the support they need to deal with family violence, so we’re providing tailored services to the community.”

Drummond Street Services will lead the new partnership, alongside Switchboard Victoria, Transgender Victoria, and the Victorian AIDS Council.

“The LGBTI community experiences the same if not higher rates of family violence during childhood, in adolescence and within adult intimate partner relationships as the heterosexual community,” said Karen Field, CEO of Drummond Street Services’ Queerspace.

“This, coupled with community-level transphobia, homophobia and biphobia, often results in complex health and wellbeing issues for LGBTI Victorians.

“Ensuring access to LGBTI specialist family violence services and activities to prevent and respond to family violence is vital to improving health outcomes for LGBTI communities and their families.”

The record $1.9 billion earmarked in the Victorian Budget 2017–2018 for family violence reform includes $5.3 million for LGBTI communities, along with an additional investment in LGBTI specialist court applicant and respondent practitioners and LGBTI family violence case managers.

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