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If you identify as LGBTIQ+ and are experiencing domestic or family violence, it's important to know that you are not alone and can get help.
Domestic and family violence can happen in any type of relationship or intimate partnership: lesbian, gay, bisexual, heterosexual, monogamous, open, polyamorous, dating, long-term, living together or not living together, even long distance. It can happen to people who identify as transgender, gender-diverse, intersex, queer, sistergirl, brotherboy or cisgender,
Domestic and family violence is never the fault of the person being abused or controlled. It's the responsibility of the person misusing power and control to stop their abusive behaviour.
Domestic and family violence is any type of abusive behaviour used to gain and maintain control over another. There are different types of domestic and family violence including:
Another Closet has examples of what these types of abuse look like in an LGBTIQ+ relationship – it's under the heading 'Types of Abuse'.
Take this Relationship Checklist from Another Closet to assess whether or not you're in an abusive relationship.
Does your partner (or ex-partner):
If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, you may be experiencing domestic and family violence.
There are aspects of abuse that are unique to the LGBTIQ+ community, including:
Read more about these factors:
If you or someone else has been assaulted or scared you might be, call Police - Emergency on 000
If you are experiencing domestic and family violence, here's what you can do:
A safety plan is thinking about how to stay safe while in a violent or abusive relationship, or it could be a plan on how to leave the relationship. Read about how to make a safety plan on the Say it Out Loud and Another Closet websites.
You may be feeling scared, angry, alone, confused, ashamed and overwhelmed. Remember that your partner's violence is not your fault. They may not want you to talk to other people, but you shouldn't keep quiet.
Speaking to someone about it is brave. Staying silent may put you (and your children) at more risk of harm. Try reaching out to a trusted friend, family member, coworker or doctor. Make sure it's someone you trust and won't judge you.
It's good to confide in someone you trust about what's going on, but it's also important to talk to a trained counsellor from a support service. They will listen to you without blame or judgement and can give you information and referrals. Here are some support services you can call:
You can report domestic and family violence to Police. The NSW Police Force Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers (GLLOs) are specially trained to address LGBTIQ+ issues and have served the LGBTIQ+ communities for more than 25 years. There are also Domestic Violence Liaison Officers (DVLOs) who are specially trained to provide support. They are located in many police stations across NSW.
GLLOs and DVLOs may not be available 24/7 but other police officers are. Remember that all police officers are trained in treating everyone equally and should not show any discrimination when helping you.
An Apprehended Violence Order (AVO) is an order made by a court against a person, such as a current or former partner, who makes you fear for your safety. This is to protection you from further violence, intimidation or harassment.
The laws for applying for an apprehended violence order (AVO) apply for LGBTIQ+ people as they do for anyone else. In 2008, the Australian Government made change to laws that entitle same-sex de facto couples the same benefits, obligations and protections as opposite-sex couples.
The website 1800RESPECT has lots of helpful information including:
ACON is a community based LGBTQ health and HIV/AIDS organisation. ACON has a range of services that may be appropriate for people experiencing domestic violence such as information, referral, counselling or support. ACON services also include an Anti-Violence Project, Aboriginal project, a Same Sex Attracted Womens Project, an Alcohol and other Drugs Project, HIV services and a range of services for gay men.
The Say it Out Loud site has helpful articles about healthy and unhealthy relationships in the LGBTIQ+ community.
Another Closet provides information, tips, personal stories and training notes about domestic and family violence in LGBTIQ+ relationships.
Organisation Intersex International Australia offers support and information for people who are intersex in Australia.
The Gender Centre offers a range of services for transgender and gender diverse people, their partners, families and friends in NSW. These supports include counselling, case management, accommodation, resources, training and workshops.The Gender Centre is located in Annandale, NSW.
A non-profit community based legal centre providing free legal services, information, referrals and telephone advice for the LGBTIQ+ community. Initial legal advice is given by appointment on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.
The Safe Relationships Project offers domestic violence court assistance and support for people who are in same-sex relationships, transgender, transsexual or intersex. They offer help with applying for Apprehended Violence Orders, referrals for counselling and housing, and advice on family law and compensation for victims.
Twenty10 incorporating GLCS NSW is a community-based, non-profit, state-wide organisation, working with and supporting people of diverse genders, sexes and sexualities, their families and communities. There is a specialised youth support service for people aged 12 to 26, and a specialised service for everyone else aged 18 or over.
16 May 2023