Improving services working with LGBTQ+ communities
- New South Wales
Fourth Action Plan actions
- Respect, listen and respond to the diverse lived experience and knowledge of women and their children affected by violence
- Respond to sexual violence and sexual harassment
- 14 Deliver client-centred, trauma-informed, specialised and consistent support to victims and survivors of sexual violence.
What are we doing?
As part of the NSW Sexual Assault Strategy 2018-2021, launched in 2018, the NSW Government is working with ACON to support NSW frontline professionals to work meaningfully and effectively with people from the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTQ+) communities regarding sexual assault. The NSW Government is also working with ACON to improve LGBTQ+ inclusion in, and awareness of, domestic and family violence services.
What have we achieved so far?
ACON has worked with frontline domestic and family violence services to build the capacity of staff and improve their organisations’ policies and practices to better serve the LGBTQ+ community. ACON has also conducted staff training to raise awareness of issues specific to LGBTQ+ people.
ACON completed a policy and practice review project to build the capacity of a frontline DFV service in regional NSW. The project included guidance and recommendations for intake and assessment processes.
ACON has advised on policy through their active involvement in the NSW Domestic and Family Violence and Sexual Assault Council, and regular meetings with DCJ.
ACON has partnered with the University of Tasmania on a research project to build an understanding of the nature and dynamics of sexual assault in LGBTQ+ communities and are preparing to conduct a community survey.
ACON has developed a Sexual Assault toolkit, which focused on assisting LGBTQ+ communities to recognise and respond to sexual assault with a focus on dating apps, sex on premises venues and the party scene.
ACON has developed the Sexual Assault in LGBTQ+ Communities e-learning in collaboration with professionals working in the sector and LGBTQ+ community members who have experienced sexual assault. The modules of this training include case scenarios that feature voices and pictures of community members to ensure that the learning program is representative of LGBTQ+ communities.
ACON were successful in finalising the Proud Partners Program which will be rolled out in the first quarter of 2022.
ACON implement support groups for LGBTQ+ victim/survivors of sexual assault, intimate partner and/or family violence in Sydney, Hunter and Northern Rivers. Sydney support groups have been postponed due to COVID-19.
What is next?
Domestic and family violence services will continue to work with ACON to undertake policy and practice reviews, and build capacity through staff training.
Over the next year (July 2021-June 2022), ACON will provide specialist community engagement and research to build on successful existing community-based interventions in the LGBTQ+ community that align to the NSW Sexual Assault Strategy 2018-2021 and the NSW Domestic and Family Violence Blueprint for Reform 2016-2021. ACON will lead a number of initiatives including a research project on the prevalence of sexual assault in LGBTQ+ communities, development of a sexual assault educational toolkit, delivery of a domestic violence perpetrator behaviour change program and delivery of two support groups for victim-survivors of sexual assault.
Further funding was provided to ACON through the NSW Government and Commonwealth Government funding as part of the Domestic and Family Violence stimulus packages from July 2020 to December 2021. The COVID-19 funding has provided an opportunity to extend support for LGBTQ+ communities during the COVID-19 period. Funding is being allocated in response to the current environment, where it is critical that essential domestic and family violence services continue to operate and are equipped to deal with increasing complexities due to COVID-19. This includes additional specialist counselling, support, information and referral services for LGBTQ+ individuals who have experienced domestic and family violence and/or sexual assault, or have had an increased risk to their safety during the COVID-19 period.
What difference will we make?
Through this work with ACON and the LGBTQ+ community, domestic and family violence and other services will have an increased understanding of issues specific to LGBTQ+ people in relation to sexual violence and increased capability to meet the needs of LGBTQ+ victim–survivors.