COVID-19 and Family Violence for LGBTIQ+ people

  • As we prepare ourselves for physical distancing and self-isolation, we need to remember home is not always the safest place.

    For some in our community – job losses and insecure housing can mean that we are forced back to other homes with family or friends which can be highly conflictual and for others unsafe.

    Research shows the rates and severity of Family Violence increase significantly following natural disasters and periods of isolation. This is not because all people suddenly become violent, but because people who have used violence previously are in circumstances which enable greater access to their partners and family and can have more opportunities to use violence. There are also often reduced resources, community support services and police availability during times of crisis.

    What this means is we need to prepare and do what we can to support ourselves, our families and our communities. The most important thing is to be aware of what resources and supports are available to those experiencing family violence and how to access them.

  • Resources and Information

    With Respect has several resources and fact sheets regarding Family and Intimate Partner Violence within the LGBTIQ+ communities, and their family or friends, who are affected by family violence.

    Food and material aid during coronavirus
    Victorians self-isolating due to coronavirus (COVID-19) with no access to food and essential supplies will receive emergency relief packages under a program introduced by the Victorian Government. For more information phone the coronavirus hotline on 1800 675 398 or visit

    Ask Izzy has a list of emergency type aid such as food supplies searchable by postcode. Organisations here will each have their own responses to COVID-19 that are being updated 

    Interpreter services for non-English speakers
    This service is available to any individual or organisation in Australia, enabling non-English speakers to independently access services and information over the phone. TIS National's immediate phone interpreting service (24 hrs, 7 days a week) 131 450


    Safety Planning: Family Violence Safety planning during Covid-19 Coronavirus

    • It is important to consider the safest way to seek information or assistance. Identify when and how it may be safest to phone or email a family violence service.

    • If you are self-isolating and physical distancing it is important to consider if there are other friends and family who could stay with you during this time. Consider reaching out to these people now to plan. 
    • Consider identifying and reaching out to a trusted friend, co-worker, or family member who could check in with you about your safety and support needs, if you need to self-isolate at home.
    • Make a “go bag”
      This should include some clothes, ID, phone charger, medications, an extra set of keys, important items for children and bankcards (if you don’t have these then some cash).
      Be aware many places are not using cash due to the potential spread of coronavirus. Sometimes it is safe to keep this bag at home to take if you need to leave the house, or it may be safer to keep it at a trusted friend or family member’s home.
    • Develop a relationship with neighbours
      It may be appropriate to ask neighbours to call police if they hear concerning noises. You may feel comfortable to ask them if you could go to their house if you feel unsafe at home.
    • Develop a code word or phrase with two friends or family members
      Sometimes it is helpful to have different code words which relate to different requests (“I’m going to the shops” may mean call the police)
    • Try to keep your mobile phone with you at all times. Have a back-up plan if you cannot get to your mobile.
    • Plan where you will go if you need to leave (even if you don’t think you will need to).
    • Include others in the plan so they can make arrangements and prepare themselves and their family.
    • Consider how you will get there if you need to leave (car, taxi, walk)
    • Keep car keys in an easily accessible location not known by the person using violence
    • Consider alternatives if public transport and other methods of transport are not available
    • Think about your exit route from the house and practice leaving safely if you can


    Warning: points ahead may be triggering, keep reading if you are concerned for your immediate safety

    • If the person’s behaviour is escalating and you can’t safely leave, try to keep your back towards an open space, not a corner 
    • Try to avoid the kitchen, bathroom, garage, being near weapons or any place that has sharp or heavy items (we acknowledge we don’t always have control over where these incidents occur)
    • If a person is using violence towards you, try to run away from any children as they may harm them as well
    • Plan for occasions when you can’t leave your home
    • Make a ‘safe room’. Consider which room in your home you can secure that has mobile reception. A safe room will allow you to wait in until the police or another person who can help arrives
    • Identify safe areas of the house where there are no weapons and there are ways to escape. If arguments occur, try to move to those areas
    • Plan with children and identify a safe place for them, such as a room with a lock or a neighbour’s house where they can go for help. Reassure them their job is to stay safe, not to protect you
    • Plan with friends, family or trusted worker if they can look after your pets and how you can arrange their transport

WithRespect is a partnership of four LGBTIQ specialist organisations

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1800 LGBTIQ | 1800 542 847