The dominant approach to family violence focuses on violence committed by men against their female partners and children. This approach understands family violence as an expression of the gendered and unequal relationships between men and women. However, an exclusively gendered model contributes to the invisibility of same-sex intimate partner violence and violence within families directed at LGBTI parents, children and siblings. This paper looks at work being done in Victoria to develop an LGBTI-inclusive, mainstream family violence sector in response to the recommendations arising from the Victorian Royal Commission (2016/17). This involves the development of a new framework for understanding the causes and drivers of family violence. This framework looks at how the interactions among dominant normative constructions of sex, gender and sexuality underpin rates and patterns of family violence. This new framework not only brings into focus LGBTI family violence but also the ways in which normative constructions of heterosexuality are implicated in male, gendered violence against women and their children. This paper looks at how this broader framework can be used to form allegiances between women’s and LGBTI organizations in the fight against family violence. The paper argues that the application of this model in policy, programs and services is crucial to the development of an LGBTI-inclusive mainstream family violence sector that is able to provide appropriate and effective services to the victims and perpetrators of LGBTI family violence.
Liam is Director GLHV@ARCSHS, La Trobe University. He has over 20 years experience as an LGBTI advocate and has been instrumental in the development and implementation of Australian LGBTI health and wellbeing policies, programs and research. He was the lead investigator on Private lives 2, the largest national survey of the health and wellbeing of LGBT Australians (2012, 2015) and led the development of the world’s first LGBTI inclusive accreditation program, the Rainbow Tick. Liam has lectured and published widely on sexuality, gender studies and social theory. Matthew is a Research Officer for GLHV@ARCSHS, La Trobe University, specialising in LGBTIQ domestic and family violence. Matthew is a member of the Victorian Government advisory ’LGBTI Domestic Violence Working Group’, delivers LGBTIQ training to mainstream DFV services, and has driven LGBTQ DFV public educational projects and media campaigns.
Mx Matthew Parsons is the Research Operations Manager at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health & Society, La Trobe University and a Research Officer for GLHV@ARCSHS. Their passion for human rights in sexuality drives their work to improve the access of disadvantaged populations to equity in access to sexual health rights through a range of disciplines.