The right to live a life free from domestic violence and abuse is a person’s most basic human right. But for many LGBTQ people, it is sadly not a reality.
More than half of LGBTQ people will experience some form of domestic, family or intimate partner violence or abuse in their lifetime. But most victims remain invisible, with only a fraction of cases reported to police.
This Friday (May 28) is LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness Day. This year’s campaign #SeenAndBelieved aims to make every invisible victim visible.
Ben Bjarnesen (pictured), a domestic violence survivor, started the awareness day last year. He also founded the LGBTQ Domestic Violence Foundation.
With the new campaign, Bjarnesen wants all LGBTQ victims and survivors to know they’ll be #SeenAndBelieved and support is available to them.
“Domestic and family violence is an insidious issue that can affect anyone, regardless of their gender, income, occupation, location, race, or religion,” he said.
“LGBTQ people are not immune from experiencing this problem.”
Ben Bjarnesen is a LGBTI Liaison Officer in the Queensland Police Service. He shared his own personal experience with QNews.com.au in 2019.
“The majority of mainstream coverage of this issue frames it as exclusively a heterosexual problem,” he said.
“[As a result] many LGBTQ people feel that what they are experiencing doesn’t fall under the umbrella of domestic violence.
“Or if they seek help, they feel they either won’t be believed or support won’t be available.
“We need to make sure that LGBTQ people know they are seen, they are believed, and there are organisations that will support them.”
Find out more information at the LGBTQ Domestic Violence Foundation website here.
Everyone has the right to feel safe in their relationships
Australia recognises the month of May as Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month each year.
Foundation patron Dame Quentin Bryce said all people have the right to feel safe in their relationships.
“Everyone deserves to live a life free from domestic and family violence,” she said.
“We must never back away from our ambition of zero tolerance.”
If you or someone you know is at risk of domestic and family violence:
In an emergency call Triple Zero (000) and ask for the police.
Support for Queensland women is available from the DVConnect Womensline on 1800 811 811.
Support for Queensland men is available on the DVConnect Mensline on 1800 600 636.
Call Diverse Voices on 1800 184 527 from 3pm – midnight. Diverse Voices is a peer-to-peer phone and internet counselling service focused on the diverse voices that make up our community.