Domestic violence doesn’t discriminate, so on Thursday 28 May, Australia’s first LGBTI Domestic Violence Awareness Day will shine a light on the staggeringly high levels of domestic violence being experienced within LGBTI relationships and seriously low levels of reporting.
Shocking statistics show that up to 62 per cent of LGBTI people have experienced domestic violence within their relationships, yet awareness of the issue and reporting rates are still incredibly low, with less than six per cent being reported to police, according to recent studies.
Queensland Police Officer, DVConnect Board Member, and a survivor of domestic violence, Ben Bjarnesen founded the LGBTI Domestic Violence Awareness Day to raise awareness and help victims.
“We are in this fight to stamp out domestic violence of every kind throughout Australia, and part of that fight is to raise awareness and improve support for those suffering from domestic violence within LGBTI communities.
“COVID-19 is compounding the effects of domestic violence on victims, so it’s more crucial than ever before that we stand together to bring about change.
“It’s time to speak up, remove the stigma and show those suffering from domestic violence and the survivors, that you support them by spreading the words #ImHereForYou” Mr Bjarnesen said.
The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO said, “Each one of us must ask ourselves ‘what can I, me, myself do to help this urgent cause; in my workplace, at home, in my sporting club, at my school, in my neighbourhood….’. We must never back away from our ambition of zero tolerance.”
Also adding his voice to the campaign, His Excellency the Honourable Paul de Jersey AC, Governor of Queensland, said “During Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Month each year, we are reminded of the shocking statistics, but few are aware that, hidden behind those raw numbers and percentages is a darker story – unreported abuse in LGBTIQ+ relationships.
“With its hash-tag, #ImHereForYou, this much-needed awareness strategy will help to dispel public misconceptions around abuse in LGBTIQ+ relationships. At the same time, it will make victims aware that help is available and that they need not suffer trauma, fear and prejudice in silence,” His Excellency said.
People from LGBTI communities need to know that help is available for them, that they don’t have to live with abuse and that everyone, regardless of their sexuality or gender identity, deserves to live a life free from violence and abuse.
On May 28, tell your friends, family and LGBTI communities that you’re here for them and help raise awareness, support those in abusive relationships and those that have survived, and remember the victims who’ve lost their lives.
Show your support with personal messages of hope by spreading the words #ImHereForYou .