A new campaign launched by the AIDS Council of NSW (ACON) hopes to encourage members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) community to speak out about domestic and family violence.
The Stand Up Against Domestic Violence campaign began earlier this month and aims to open up discussions around the state about domestic violence and how it can affect anyone at any point. NSW's leading HIV and LGBTI health organisation believes more education and support is needed in this area to reduce the increasing numbers of violent incidents.
ACON's campaign, which is funded by the Australian government's Department of Social Services and the City of Sydney, will feature extensive advertisement features and incorporate online resources for the community.
According to a report, which investigated the heath and wellbeing of the LGBTI community, one in three people experience domestic family violence. The research also indicated this community was less likely to report such incidents or find out what support is available.
Nicolas Parkhill, ACON CEO, said the campaign is focussed on bystanders intervening and highlighting issues instead of ignoring the problem.
"Many LGBTI people are unsure of what domestic family violence (DFV) looks like in our communities, are unsure what to do or feel afraid to do or say something when they see the signs of DFV," he said.
"This campaign will help LGBTI people to recognise that we all have a role to play when we witness the signs of an unhealthy relationship among our friends and in our community."
Superintendent Tony Crandell, NSW Police corporate spokesperson for LGBTI issues, reinforced the under reporting of DFV incidents as a real issue in the community.
"We know that it is happening, however, people assume that what's happening to them isn't a crime or perhaps they are too scared to come forward because they are being controlled or intimidated," he said.
Legal advice for the LGBTI community
Mr Parkhill said it was important that people in LGBTI relationships who are experiencing domestic violence know legal support is available and can be extremely helpful.
Anyone who is the victim of domestic violence - regardless of sexual orientation - is urged to contact police and consult with a family lawyer.
A lawyer can help sort out legal issues around the violence and suggest options the victim can take. If a spouse or children are involved, then a lawyer can assist with drawing up de facto separation proceedings and child custody agreements.