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Recognising Intimate Partner Violence and Family Violence

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Recognising Intimate Partner Violence and Family Violence

Often it can be difficult to recognise or articulate your experience as family or intimate partner violence. This may be due to ongoing control, manipulation or gaslighting as well as minimisation from family, friends, or the person using violence.

People may experience intimate partner violence from a current partner, partners or ex-partners. Family Violence can be used by someone from family of origin, chosen family, or someone in a caring role.

When someone is using family or intimate partner violence towards you, you may begin to doubt yourself or think the behaviours are in your imagination. Some of us feel ashamed or worry about what others will say or think about us and whether our relationships are healthy.

If you are fearful, nervous or worried about your relationship, seek support.

You can call With Respect for support, advice and referral.

Intimate partner violence and family violence in LGBTIQ+ relationships


Some experiences of intimate partner violence and family violence can be unique to our LGBTIQ+ relationships and our chosen families. Here are a few examples of the kind of experiences some people report.  This is a good way to check in about your own relationships but is not a complete list.

These behaviours may be an indication that you should seek support or advice from a family violence specialist.

Does your partner:

  • Humiliate you, call you names or make fun of your body?
  • Threaten to ‘out’ your sexuality, gender (identity, expression or history) or variation in sex characteristics to your friends, family or work?
  • Threaten to ‘out’ your sexual health history or status (i.e HIV status)?
  • Isolate or prevent you from attending LGBTIQ events or venues?
  • Attempt to convince you their behaviour is normal or that family violence doesn’t exist in LGBTIQ relationships?
  • Undermine your parenting on the basis of your sexuality or gender identity?
  • Pressure you to have surgery against your wishes?
  • Force or pressure you to perform?
  • Control your access to your medication (including hormones) or prevent you from taking your medication?

Then you might be experiencing intimate partner violence or family violence.

You can call With Respect for support, advice and referral.

Signs of family violence

Like our families, family violence can come in all different shapes and sizes. This list includes some of the types of behaviour which may be considered family violence, however, it is important to remember that family violence is a unique experience and if any behaviour causes you to feel fearful, you may be experiencing family violence.

 If you are fearful of your partner or a family member or if they:

  • Have sudden outbursts of anger?
  • Act overly protective or become jealous?
  • Make it difficult or restrict you from engaging with your community/friends/family or activities?
  • Give you the ‘silent treatment’ or find ways to not be accountable for their behaviour?
  • Behave unpredictably?
  • Promise they will change behaviour that is harmful to you but do not follow through?
  • Tell you that you can’t trust friends or family?
  • Blame you for their behaviour?
  • Control your money against your will?
  • Control your day-to-day activities. Eg. Where you go, who you see?
  • Monitor, harass or stalk you through social media?
  • Constantly check up on you or harass you with calls or texts?
  • Threaten to hurt you or intimate you in any way?
  • Physically harmed you in any way?
  • Make you worried for your children/partner/family member/pet’s safety?
  • Lock you in or out of your house, or make it difficult for you to leave?
  • Convince you to doubt your own judgement or memory of events?
  • Make you feel trapped with threats to self-harm or suicide?

These are signs of family violence.

If you answered yes to one or any of these questions you may be experiencing family violence.  Call 1800 LGBTIQ for help and support.

Together we can create a safe community where all LGBTIQ people and their families can access family violence services when they need them.





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