LGBTIQ Aussies suffer higher rates of domestic violence, study finds


transgender sexual violence hands up stock photo nsw police domestic and family violence thorne harbour health victoria
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LGBTIQ adults in Victoria experience domestic and family violence at more than double the rate of non-LGBTIQ adults, according to a major new survey.

The Victorian Agency for Health Information conducted the survey of over 34,000 LGBTIQ adults about their health and wellbeing.

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The study shines a light on issues contributing to health inequalities LGBTIQ Victorians face.

Among the findings, almost a quarter of LGBTIQ adults reported high or very high levels of psychological distress.

A total of 44.8% respondents had a diagnosis of anxiety and/or depression, compared to 26.7% of non-LGBTIQ adults.

Of the LGBTIQ adults, 13.4% had experienced family violence, compared to 5.4% of non-LGBTIQ adults.

A significantly higher proportion of LGBTIQ adults also reported a total household income less than $40,000.

And compared to non-LGBTIQ Victorians, a higher proportion of LGBTIQ Victorians said they couldn’t raise $2,000 within two days in an emergency.

The Victorian Agency for Health Information conducted the survey in 2017. The agency published the findings earlier this month.

Responding to the survey findings, Thorne Harbour Health CEO Simon Ruth said it gives valuable insight.

The LGBTIQ organisation hopes the “stark” findings lead to systemic change and greater support for LGBTIQ Victorians.

“Our LGBTIQ communities are experiencing housing and financial insecurity, mental health distress, chronic disease, and family violence at significantly higher rates when compared to non-LGBTIQ Victorians,” Ruth said.

“[The findings paint] a clear picture. LGBTIQ Victorians are continuing to experience health inequality. We need to take action.”

The Victorian Government should consider the findings in responding to the Family Violence and Mental Health Royal Commissions, he said.

Rise in domestic violence support calls due to COVID-19

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The survey also found the highest proportion of LGBTIQ-identifying adults live in metropolitan Melbourne (6%).

However, Ruth said the significant population in regional and rural Victoria must also be supported.

“We’re not just based in Melbourne. [We must] provide services and support to LGBTIQ Victorians living in regional and rural settings,” he said.

“We envision a healthy future for our sex, sexuality and gender diverse communities, where all Victorians can live with dignity and participate fully in society.”

During COVID-19, domestic violence support services have reported an alarming rise in the number of enquiries from across Australia.

Earlier this year, gay Queensland Police officer Ben Bjarnesen founded Australia’s LGBTI Domestic Violence Awareness Day.

If you or someone you know if affected by domestic violence, contact the national 24/7 helpline on 1800RESPECT or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au for free, confidential advice. In an emergency, always dial 000.

If you need someone to talk to, help is also available from QLife on 1800 184 527 or online at QLife.org.au, Lifeline on 13 11 14, or beyondblue on 1300 22 4636.

For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.