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Young people and family violence

Rejection of LGBTIQ young people by their family of origin, due to their sexuality, gender identity or intersex status, is a strong predictor of internalised stigma, depression and suicidality as well as a range of poor health and wellbeing outcomes, which are risk factors of family and intimate partner violence. Rejection by a family of origin may include the use of physical violence against a young person, neglect, or forced homelessness by eviction from the family home.

Harmful behaviours towards LGBTIQ young people may also include deliberate psychological harm such as exclusion from family activities or cutting them off from LBGTIQ communities/friends, resources or events; expressing shame about the young person; forcing the young person to conceal their LGBTIQ identity or conform to traditional gender stereotypical roles. In addition, there are specific harmful behaviours that intersex or trans and gender diverse people might experience: for example, denial of a person’s gender affirmation or transition, or being forced to undergo medical intervention (surgeries and hormonal treatments) so their bodies fit what is typically considered male or female.

Young LGBTIQ people are more likely to experience bullying and violence both at school and within their family. Exposure to violence at home, in school or the community can make it difficult to identify abuse in a relationship or for young people to ask for help. Young LGBTIQ people may also have their capacity to understand themselves questioned, for instance being told they are too young to know they are transgender.

Protective behaviours may include responding positively to disclosure, speaking openly with the young person about their LGBTIQ identity, affirming and supporting a young person’s gender affirmation/transition, ensuring their bodily autonomy and advocating for them if and when they are mistreated.