The scope of this work is slightly different from Our Watch's usual focus. The specific focus only on family violence is narrower than our usual concern with 'all forms of violence against women', while the focus on violence against LGBTI people is broader than our usual specific focus on women. We saw this project as an important opportunity to work with our partners to review, share and develop the evidence base on these overlapping and interconnected issues.
Our Watch recognises that women who experience violence are diverse – some are lesbian, bisexual, trans, gender diverse, queer or intersex. So while Change the story is a universal framework, it doesn’t go into any depth about the specific issues relevant to violence experienced by people in LGBTI communities, nor the drivers of violence perpetrated against them. This new follow-up piece of work delves deeply into these issues. As such it is aligned with Action 10 in Change the story which calls for an intersectional approach to promoting social equality and transforming structural discrimination and disadvantage. The development of this report itself included forming alliances with LGBTIQ experts to jointly challenge homophobia, biphobia, transphobia and intersexism as well as sexism and gender inequality.
As the report highlights, there are some similarities as well as significant distinctions between what drives violence against cisgender heterosexual women and violence against LGBTI people. Understanding these similarities and differences can help identify opportunities for more effective cross-sectoral collaboration on violence prevention strategies.
This research project has been commissioned by the Victorian government in response to needs identified by the Royal Commission into Family Violence. Recognising the significant gaps in research and knowledge with respect to family violence against people from lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and gender diverse, and intersex (LGBTI) communities, this research specifically focuses on the prevention of family violence against LGBTI people. In order to identify effective prevention strategies for LGBTI communities, it is necessary to understand LGBTI people’s experiences of violence, including family violence.
National and international research suggests that the rates of family violence against LGBTI people is as high as, if not higher than, family violence against heterosexual, cisgendered women and their children. Despite this, little is understood about what drives this violence. Many researchers and LGBTI community representatives have long argued that people from LGBTI communities are likely to experience higher than average rates of violence from many types of individuals, and at multiple points in their lifetime. For many, violence is experienced during childhood, in school and work settings, out in the public domain, and within relationships with intimate partners, parents, siblings, children, housemates and carers.
This report distils existing international and national evidence pertaining to family violence against LGBTI people. It includes a review of research on the broader determinants of violence against LGBTI people which, this paper argues, have an impact on rates and patterns of family violence specific to LGBTI people.