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2011 Media Release: Inclusion critical to action on LGBTIQ domestic violence

Identity LGBTI

Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick, called today for greater inclusion of people who identify as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender, intersex and queer in domestic violence responses.

Speaking at the first national conference on LGBTIQ domestic violence, in Sydney, Commissioner Broderick said, “Domestic violence knows no barriers – it is not limited to any one type of relationship, nor is it limited by an individual’s sex, sexual orientation or gender identity.”

“While it remains hidden and unacknowledged, and while the domestic violence experiences of people who identify as LGBTIQ are not included in the wider discussion, effective action remains difficult,” Ms Broderick said.

Commissioner Broderick welcomed the Government’s commitment to introduce federal legal protections against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, saying they will send a powerful message to the community regarding equality.

“Such laws would have a profound impact on reducing discrimination, vilification and harassment against people who identify as LGBTIQ in Australia, and help in reducing LGBTIQ domestic violence,” Commissioner Broderick said.

Ms Broderick said that, though we know women are disproportionately affected, the domestic violence experiences of people who identify as LGBTIQ are missing from both its mainstream depiction and from the data in Australia.

“The invisibility of LGBTIQ domestic violence and the attempts to raise awareness of the problem and seek solutions have many parallels with the global campaign to eradicate gender-based violence against women,” Commissioner Broderick said.

“If we cast our minds back just over 30 years, gender-based violence against women was largely invisible and its harms went unrecognised - women were expected to suffer in silence because domestic violence was viewed as a private issue, not one that the state should be concerned with,” Ms Broderick said. “The parallels with the domestic violence experience of individuals who identify as LGBTIQ today are clear.”

Commissioner Broderick said it was essential that every single person is able to live a life free from violence.

Media contact: Brinsley Marlay (02) 9284 9656 or 0430 366 529.