Ageing

We’re here to offer support, companionship and advice for older members of the LGBTI community (50+).

Community Visitor Scheme

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While loneliness and isolation can affect anyone’s mental health, the impact can be more severe for older people.

Our Community Visitor Scheme is all about reducing social isolation of older LGBTI people by providing company and friendship of Volunteer Visitors.

Our trained volunteers make regular one on one home visits where they chat over a cuppa, listen to music, watch a movie or participate in a hobby, game or other activity.

The Community Visitor Scheme is a free service that operates across the Sydney metropolitan area including the Blue mountains.

The service is available to recipients of Australian Government subsidised Home Care Packages who have been identified by their aged care provider as experiencing or at risk of experiencing social isolation, whether for social or cultural reasons or because of disability.

To get involved as a client, volunteer or service provider please contact us: (02) 9206 2028 or email:communityvisitor@acon.org.au

The LOVE Project

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The LOVE Project (Living Older Visibly & Engaged) is an ACON initiative that’s all about creating better conversations and improved social engagement with our older LGBTI community members.

By understanding people’s preferences we can facilitate greater social connectivity, improve social inclusion and evolve services to meet the needs of our LGBTI elders.

The friendly health promotion team of the LOVE Project welcomes you to get on board to share experiences, interact with other members of the LGBTI community and create a healthier, active and social lifestyle for yourselves and those around you.

Check out the LOVE website

For more information, contact: Russ Gluyas   |   02 9206 2017  |  rgluyas@acon.org.au

Follow the LOVE Project on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Fact Sheets

HIV & Ageing

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People with HIV who commence treatment early and who maintain effective control of their HIV viral load have a life expectancy no different from the general population. This has been clearly demonstrated in large studies of people in high income countries with access to best practice HIV clinical care.

However, HIV infection could still damage the immune system. HIV potentially causes premature ageing of the immune system, which means there may be at risk of disease at an earlier age or at slightly increased rates compared to the general population.

Potential health issues may include cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic kidney disease, diabetes, osteoporosis, frailty, and neurocognitive deficits.

Find out more about HIV and ageing via the LOVE Project website

HIV Counselling

counselling

We provide FREE and confidential short term counselling (up to 12 sessions) for:

  • People with HIV
  • People at risk of HIV
  • People affected by HIV (e.g. partners, family and friends)
  • People testing for HIV

We prioritise:

  • People newly diagnosed with HIV
  • Financially disadvantaged people
  • People experiencing health or relationship needs related to HIV
  • People experiencing the effects of a recent trauma, domestic/family violence or homophobic/transphobic violence

Counsellors use a solutions focused model drawing on a range of approaches to best meet the needs of individuals and couples.

To access this service, you will need to undergo a brief assessment in person or over the phone.

For more information or to undertake an intake assessment, please contact your nearest ACON office or to enquire about making an appointment click here.

Coronavirus update: Due to social distancing requirements, all ACON counselling and support services will be conducted virtually or over the phone.

LGBTIQ Counselling and Support

Counselling

We provide confidential fee-based short term counselling (up to 12 sessions) for LGBTIQ people seeking support in relation to their mental health and wellbeing. Volunteer counsellors use a solutions focused model and a range of therapeutic approaches to better equip people to deal with life’s challenges.

Fees for this service are negotiated according to individual circumstances, and priority is given to people on low incomes or with limited options.

LGBTIQ counselling in Sydney is available Tues and Thurs evenings. For appointment options in regional NSW please contact the relevant office.

Unfortunately this service is not suitable for:

  • People who use violence
  • People with unmanaged or unsupported mental illness or substance use

To access this service, you will need to undergo a brief assessment in person or over the phone.

For more information or to undertake a brief assessment please contact your nearest ACON office or submit an enquiry.

 

If you are experiencing prejudice related violence or harassment here are some options for counselling and support:

  • ACON provides counselling as well as social work support to help people resolve complex or ongoing violence and harassment matters. Call 9206 2000 to make an appointment.
  • QLife provides anonymous and free LGBTI peer support and referral for people wanting to talk about sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships. For more information click here.
  • ICLC can provide legal support such as assistance with preparing an Apprehended Personal Violence Order. For more information click here.
  • Lifeline provides 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services to all Australians experiencing a personal crisis. For more information click here.

Substance Support Counselling

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We provide confidential FREE short-term counselling (up to 12 sessions) for sexuality and gender diverse people and people with HIV seeking support in relation to their use of alcohol and other drugs.

Our counsellors work from a harm reduction approach to assist clients reach their goals to manage use, reduce or quit.

This service is offered in Sydney. Outside of Sydney, this service is available face to face in Lismore and Newcastle, and by phone or video conference anywhere in regional NSW.

To access this service, you will need to undergo a brief assessment in person or over the phone.

For more information or to undertake a brief assessment please contact our Sydney office or submit an enquiry.

Coronavirus update: Due to social distancing requirements, all ACON counselling and support services will be conducted virtually or over the phone.

Care Coordination

care coordination

Our Care Coordinators are allied health professionals who can help clients with multiple and/or complex needs to:

  • Access relevant healthcare and support services
  • Increase their ability to manage their care and treatment
  • Reduce social isolation

Needs may include:

  • HIV
  • Mental health
  • Alcohol and/or drug use
  • Housing
  • Family/domestic violence
  • Finances
  • Legal

Care coordinators work with clients over 3 months to develop a care plan and provide support to help clients achieve their goals and meet their needs

This service is FREE and confidential.

Priority is given to people with HIV, and people at risk or affected by HIV

Our Care Coordinators work in Sydney at our office in Surry Hills as well as the Taylor Square Private Clinic and Holdsworth House Medical Practice in Darlinghurst.

To access this service, you will need to undergo a brief assessment in person or over the phone.

For more information or to undertake a brief intake assessment, please contact our Sydney office 02 9206 2000 to enquire about making an appointment click here.

 

Regional NSW

Our care coordinators also work in the Hunter and Northern Rivers regions of NSW.

To access this service, you will need to undergo a brief assessment in person or over the phone.

For more information or to undertake a brief assessment please contact our Hunter or Northern Rivers offices or submit an enquiry.

Silver Rainbow LGBTI Aged Care Awareness Training

The Silver Rainbow LGBTI Aged Care Awareness Training program is an essential and relevant one-day training for all workers in the aged care sector. Training helps promote a better understanding of the needs of the LGBTI people and provide staff with more confidence to deliver an inclusive, best practice service.

Find out more about our Pride Training packages and dates here.

Legal Advice

clcCommunity Legal Centres (CLC) provide free legal advice, referrals and some representation to people who live and work in their area.

Community Legal Centres NSW: (02) 9212 7333

iclc

Inner City Legal Centre (ICLC) provides a state-wide specialist free legal advice service for anyone who identifies as LGBTIQ throughout NSW.

(02) 9332 1966

Historical Violence Project

NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into Gay and Transgender Hates Crimes Between 1970 and 2010

Make a submission through ACON to the Inquiry here or via the NSW Parliament website here.

Submissions close Thursday 30 April 2020.

Here is a handy step-by-step guide on how to make a submission.

Background

In a dark period of New South Wales’ history between 1975 and 2000, it is estimated that 84 gay men and 4 transgender women were killed by acts of anti-gay and anti-transgender violence. In some cases, these deaths were attributed to improbable “accidents” and unlikely “suicides”. More than 20 cases remain unsolved leaving families and loved ones without answers, closure or justice.

Hundreds more survived these violent attacks. Many of these incidents were brutal, including stabbings, strangulation, bludgeoning, shooting, sexual assaults and frenzied attacks. As well as anti-LGBT bias, many of these crimes were fuelled by HIV stigma.

Since 2015, ACON has been working with a range of community partners on a range of responses to address the grief and trauma brought on by these events, that is still being felt by many in our communities. In the search for justice and healing, ACON reviewed a list of 88 gay and transgender hate killings, and key findings from this review was released in the report In Pursuit of Truth and Justice Report, published in May 2018.

The NSW Parliament acted on these findings by initiating a formal Inquiry in September 2018 to better understand the extent and impact of violence, whether LGBT people in New South Wales were effectively protected and justice delivered, and whether the current response to hate crimes is adequate. The first round of submissions were collected between September and October 2018 and three hearings were held in November.

The NSW Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues released its Interim Report in February 2019. Read the Interim Report from the first phase of the Inquiry here.

 

Inquiry Reopened: October 2019

In October 2019, the NSW Legislative Council’s Standing Committee on Social Issues re-opened the NSW Parliamentary Inquiry into LGBT violent hate crimes, in an effort to hear from more submissions from people in our communities. It is currently taking submissions from people community members and anyone else who would like to share their experiences or views. You can make a submission via the NSW Parliament website here.

 

What is the Inquiry looking into?

The ongoing inquiry will look further into the criminal justice system and whether there were any impediments that impacted the protection of LGBT people in NSW, and the delivery of justice to victims and survivors of hate crimes as well as their families and loved ones. It will also examine how past impediments have been addressed by current policies and practices, and also what role the ‘gay panic defence’ played in the culture of violence and harassment, and the judicial system.

 

Who should make a submission to the Inquiry?

The Inquiry wants to hear from people who have experienced hate-motivated violence, or have loved ones that have experience prejudice-related attacks and/or abuse.

The Inquiry wants to hear from a cross section of the community, including:

  • People residing in regional/rural NSW
  • People residing in metropolitan areas
  • Same-sex attracted people
  • Trans and gender diverse people
  • Culturally and linguistically diverse people
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander People

The list above is by no means exhaustive. If you experience hate-motivated violence, the Inquiry wants to hear from you. This is an important opportunity to have your say.

 

What to include in your submission?

A submission need not be an essay or a professionally drafted document. Oftentimes, a letter will suffice. Be sure to include as much detail as possible. The more information you can provide, the more it will help inform the Inquiry and the development of responses. As a guide, here are some important things you should include:

  • Share your experiences of violence and the impact on you
  • What support did you receive
  • Your interactions with police and the justice system
  • Your views on whether the LGBT community was protected and if justice was served
  • Your thoughts on how to support people with healing
  • What would you like to see changed or improved to better respond to anti-LGBT violence today

 

Need assistance with your submission? We are here to help

ACON is here to support our communities in making a submission to the Inquiry. If you you like further assistance, support and information, please contact Michael Atkinson at matkinson@acon.org.au or on (02) 9206 2116.

 

Where can I make a submission?

Submissons can be made via ACON here or the NSW Parliament website here.

Submissions close Thursday 30 April 2020.