The family violence sector is undergoing considerable change as result of the Victorian Royal Commission.
The Victorian Royal Commission into Family Violence report (2016) acknowledges capacity of the family violence service system to respond appropriately to LGBTIQ people has been limited to date.
The Commission made four recommendations covering a range of initiatives (recommendations 166-169). Broadly, these seek to:
- increase the knowledge and evidence base regarding the rates and forms of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ people, this includes the creation of data collection frameworks
- develop additional housing and other service options for LGBTIQ people experiencing family violence
- build capacity within the family violence sector to recognise and respond appropriately to LGBTIQ people experiencing family violence through training and Rainbow Tick accreditation
- raise awareness among LGBTIQ communities and the broader community of what family violence looks like and how to respond.
There has been significant investment in Royal Commission recommendations since 2016, as of June the following are being implemented:
- w|respect has been established to support LGBTIQ communities and their families affected by family violence
- the establishment of the LGBTIQ Family Violence Working Group as a formal mechanism of government to drive the implementation of the LGBTIQ-specific reforms and provide feedback to government on the impact of broader family violence reforms on LGBTIQ people
- two new training modules on LGBTIQ family violence, developed by GLHV and Drummond Street Services, for workers in specialist family violence services
- the commencement of Rainbow Tick Accreditation of specialist family violence services, which will in time include the 17 Support and Safety Hubs being established across the state
- LGBTIQ family violence applicant and respondent workers in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria to support LGBTIQ people appearing in court in family violence matters
- commencement of production of legal and other resources for people in LGBTIQ communities experiencing family violence, and a community education campaign
- a mapping project to build understanding of LGBTIQ people’s experiences of the family violence system, key barriers and service gaps
- a range of initiatives to prevent family violence against LGBTIQ people including a comprehensive literature review, a media campaign and funding for action research projects.
Over time, these combined initiatives will build a greater understanding of the nature, risk and protective factors and prevalence of violence experienced by LGBTIQ people, both within the service sector and broader community. This together with investment in sector capacity, and the design of new referral pathways will improve inclusive and more efficient system responses to LGBTIQ people who experience (and perpetrate) family and intimate partner violence.