World-first program to better support LGBTQ+ victims of DV

Founder Ben Bjarnesen addresses domestic violence Awareness Foundation gala
Images: Supplied

A new first-of-its-kind, free online training tool aims to better equip frontline workers to support LGBTQ+ victims and survivors of domestic violence and abuse.

Today (May 28) is the fifth annual LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness Day. The initiative started here by Australian charity the LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence Foundation.

Sadly, the limited research on the issue indicates that 60 per cent of LGBTQ+ people have experienced domestic, family and intimate partner violence.

However, 72 per cent never report the abuse to anyone. Of those who do, only 2.3 per cent use a domestic and family violence service and 1.7 per cent inform their employer.

Today, the LGBTQ Domestic Violence Foundation is launching See, Hear, Believe – Responding to Domestic & Family Violence in LGBTQ+ Communities.

The free eLearning course is the first of its kind. The self-paced course gives frontline workers the knowledge, skills and training to identify and support LGBTQ+ victims and survivors.

It includes eLearning modules based on LGBTQ+ people’s real-life experiences, powerful video stories, short follow-up exercises and a digital hub for continued development and engagement.

Ben Bjarnesen says new online resource is vital 

Queenslander Ben Bjarnesen, a domestic violence survivor himself, founded the LGBTQ+ Domestic Violence Foundation in 2020.

He said the new See, Hear, Believe tool is pivotal to changing the experiences of LGBTQ+ people who access frontline services.

“This training will provide frontline workers with the tools they need to recognise and respond to LGBTQ+ people who are victims and survivors of domestic or family violence,” Bjarnesen said.

“It will shed light on what LGBTQ+ identities and experiences look like and the barriers LGBTQ+ people may face when reporting abuse.

“Sadly, there are very few existing resources or programs available to assist our first responders and none that are widely and freely available.

“We developed See, Hear, Believe to empower frontline workers to effectively engage with LGBTQ+ people, earn their trust and feel confident referring them to appropriate support services.”

LGBTQ Domestic Violence Foundation joins Mardi Gras

In March, a LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness Foundation float joined Mardi Gras for the first time.

The 2024 Mardi Gras Parade followed the tragic alleged DV murders of Sydney couple Jesse Baird and Luke Davies.

“We must all acknowledge that this issue occurs at a disproportionately higher rate in LGBTQ+ communities,” Ben Bjarnesen said at the time.

“We are losing too many lives and too many others are suffering in silence.

“I hope that any LGBTQ+ person watching the parade who’s experiencing violence in a personal or family relationship sees us and knows that they are not alone.

“They need to know that they are seen, believed and there are people and organisations who can support them.”

1800RESPECT is the national domestic, family and sexual violence counselling, information and support service. If you or someone you know is experiencing, or at risk of experiencing, domestic, family or sexual violence, call 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732, chat online via their website, or text 0458 737 732.

Read more:

Survivor shares her story on LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness Day

Experiencing domestic violence? Please, pick up the phone

LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness Foundation marches in Mardi Gras

Sydney man charged with murder of boyfriend in alleged DV incident

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Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

QNews, Brisbane Gay, App, Gay App, LGBTI, LGBTI News, Gay Australia

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