Domestic & Family Violence

We’re here to help LGBTI people who have experienced domestic and family violence by providing a range of resources and support services.

Our new domestic & family violence website “Say It Out Loud” is now live. Check it out:

Domestic & Family Violence Basics

DFV_LGBTIQ_shutterstock_0Domestic and family violence (DFV) is any type of behaviour used to gain and maintain control over an intimate partner, ex-partner, family member (including chosen family), carers or member of the same household.

Domestic and family violence is not just physical but can take many forms including:

  • Sexual
  • Emotional or psychological
  • Social
  • Financial
  • Verbal
  • Stalking and harassment

DFV In LGBTI Relationships

1 in 3 LGBTI people experience violence from a partner, ex-partner or family member.

This means that LGBTI people are just as likely as people in the general population to experience DFV.

However, research shows that LGBTI people are less likely to find support services that meet their specific needs.

Abuse in LGBTI relationships has the same elements as all abusive relationships, but there are some unique differences for LGBTI people:

  • Using someone’s intersex status, sexuality, gender, gender expression, transgender or HIV status against them.
  • Threatening to ‘out’ someone to their family, friends, community or workplace. Outing can include someone’s gender, sexuality, intersex status or HIV status
  • Controlling someone’s medications, access to gender transition related healthcare, or pressuring them to conform to sex or gender “norms”
  • Confidentiality and lack of appropriate language to discuss abuse in LGBTI communities/relationships,
  • A lack of mainstream services that address the needs of LGBTI people, such as safe housing services for male victims, supports for female perpetrators, transgender and intersex inclusive services
  • A fear of lack of understanding, minimisation and/or discrimination from police and service providers
  • Fear around differing legal rights over children and assets


ACON and Relationships Australia LGBTIQ DFV Support Groups

Have you or someone you know been a victim and/or survivor of domestic violence in an intimate relationship?

Would you like help to heal and move forward?

Have you or someone you know ever been told that the way you’re behaving in your relationship is abusive’?

Would you like help to change?

What are we doing?

ACON and Relationships Australia NSW are piloting new group programs for Lesbian, Bisexual, Gay, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) people affected by or using domestic violence. We are running separate groups for women, men and mixed groups for non-binary people who have used abusive behaviours or been a victim and/or survivor of domestic violence in a present or past relationship.  The Support Groups for Victims/Survivors will run for 8 weeks and the Behaviour Change Program for 18 weeks. Each weekly session will run for two and half hours. Group programs use a psychoeducational format to support LGBTIQ people to discuss the impact that violence has on them and their relationships, to build resilience and confidence to make life changes and work towards relationships that are respectful and caring.

Why are we doing it?

Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) is an issue in LGBTIQ relationships. Yet, our communities are:

  • Less likely to find support services that meet our specific needs,
  • Less likely to identify the occurrence of DFV in our relationships
  • Less likely to report it to the police or to seek support from services.
  • Existing DFV services are built on cisgender heterosexual models that assume there are a male perpetrator and a female survivor.

There is a range of societal, institutional, and individual barriers related to a person’s sexual orientation and gender identity that prevent access to services and/or appropriate prevention and intervention strategies currently in the DFV sector.

How are we doing it?

ACON and Relationships Australia have tailored a survivor support group for partners and a behaviour change program to meet the unique needs of LGBTIQ people in a safe and inclusive space. Our groups will cover a lot of the same content as existing DFV groups e.g. tactics of oppression; however where it differs is that we provide a safe space from discrimination and where people can talk openly about their relationships and identity and build upon equitable relationships skills. We also look at issues such as identity, discrimination, internalised phobias, minority stress, lateral violence and the extra layers of complexity when looking at relationships that sit outside the hetero-norm.

In addition to the group programs, participants will be invited to participate in short surveys and qualitative interviews, which will be confidential and voluntary. This research, which has been funded by Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS), will be conducted by ACON and Relationships Australia NSW to assess the impact of the group program participants are attending and how LGBTIQ people experience violence and abuse in their significant relationships. This evidence based research will inform future service delivery.

Who is running it?

There will be two co-facilitators that are community identified and trained in LGBTIQ inclusive practice who will be running each group. These co-facilitators will guide and support participants through the program content week by week. All ACON and Relationship Australia NSW staff working with participants have undergone LGBTIQ inclusivity training.

Where are we doing it?

The group programs will be running in ACON and Relationships Australia NSW offices and close to public transport in Sydney CBD, Newcastle and Wollongong.

When are we doing it?

Start dates are yet to be confirmed and will depend entirely on the recruitment of suitable participants. All groups will begin this year; we can start groups once we have group numbers.

The provisional dates for the Sydney Behaviour Change Program and Support Groups for Partners are in August /September, Wollongong Behaviour Change Program in November and Support Groups for partners in October/November and Newcastle Behaviour Change Program in November and Support Groups for Partners in August/ September.

To gain a broader understanding of the work ACON and Relationships Australia NSW does, it may be helpful to look at:


ACON’s DFV in LGBTIQ relationships ‘Say It Out Loud’:

Relationships Australia NSW:



To find out more about these group programs or to participate please contact or 1300 LGBTIQ (1300 542 847)

For research related enquires contact or

Report An Incident To Police

policeIf it’s an emergency always call Triple Zero (000). If it’s not urgent, call the Police Assistance Line on 131 444. You can also make an anonymous call without giving your name by calling Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Domestic Violence Liaison officers (DVLOs) have special training in working with people who are experiencing domestic and family violence. Most police stations have a DVLO. For more information click here.

Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers (GLLOs) are specially trained to address LGBTI issues. For more information on GLLOs, click here.

If you’re not happy with the service you have received from the police, the NSW Police Force has an internal complaints process. For more information please visit: the NSW Police website.

We can help you report an incident to police. For more information, please contact your nearest ACON office.


Domestic & Family Violence Resources

Untitled-1Another Closet (2015)
The LGBTIQ Domestic Violence Interagency has produced a resource titled Another Closet for LGBTIQ people who may be experiencing domestic or family violence. It also has information for people supporting an LGBTIQ friend or family member who is experiencing abuse, contains information on what domestic violence is, what to do if you are experiencing abuse, tips for making a safety plan, information for how to support a friend or family member and the details for some referral services in NSW.

One Size Does Not Fit All (2011)
ACON’s gap analysis of NSW domestic violence support services in relation to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex communities’ needs.
One Size Does Not Fit All

Calling It What It Really is (2015)
A report into lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, gender diverse, intersex and queer experiences of domestic and family violence
Click here to download

Bring Violence Out Of The Closet
Bring Violence Out of the Closet is a print resource was produced by the NSW Police to assist the LGBTI community to report domestic and family violence. It provides an outline of what to expect when you make a report to the police, clarifies key roles and offers details of referrals for additional support.

LGBTI Domestic Violence Toolkit
The LGBTI Domestic Violence Toolkit is a resource for agencies and service providers supporting LGBTI victims of domestic violence and their families.

ACON Domestic And Family Violence Strategy
Click here to download

LGBTI Counselling


We provide confidential fee-based short term counselling (up to 12 sessions) for LGBTI people seeking support in relation to their mental health and wellbeing. Volunteer counsellors use a solutions focussed 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.

Appointments are available between 6pm and 7pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Unfortunately this service is not suitable for:

  • People assessed to have recent or current risk of suicide
  • 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.

Domestic & Family Violence Support Services

Supporting-gay-marriage-bre_connie1 (1)For more information or to undertake a brief intake assessment, please contact your nearest ACON officeor to enquire about making an appointment click here.

In an emergency always call 000
Police Assistance line: 131 444

To report DFV you can talk to any police officer. You can also ask to speak with a Domestic Violence Liaison Officer (DVLO) or a LGBTI Liaison Officer (known as GLLO). People can try to contact a GLLO directly but some stations don’t have GLLOs and GLLOs and DVLOs are not available 24/7 but general police are.

1800RESPECT Helpline
Information and support for anyone in Australia experiencing DFV or sexual assault, 24 hours/day, 7 days/ week. The website has an LGBTIQ specific information section.
1800 737 732

NSW Rape and Domestic Violence Services Australia
24/7 telephone and online crisis counselling service for anyone in NSW – men and women – who has experienced or is at risk of sexual assault and their non offending supporters.
1800 424 017

RSPCA – Safe Beds for Pets
Provides temporary safe housing for pets of LGBTIQ people who are escaping domestic violence.
(02) 9782 4408

NSW Victims Services
Confidential support, free counselling, financial assistance, referral and information for all victims of DFV in NSW.
1800 633 063, Aboriginal Line: 1800 019 123

Australian wide telephone counselling (6 sessions) and referrals for men (GBTI inclusive).
1300 789 978

National crisis and suicide prevention telephone counselling, 24 hours/day, 7 days/week.
13 11 14

Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (known as Aboriginal medical services/AMS)
ACCHS are health services initiated by Aboriginal people, based in a local Aboriginal community, which delivers a wholistic and culturally appropriate health service. To find the contact details of your nearest service visit: pages/contact.aspx

Wirringa Baiya Aboriginal Women’s Legal Service
Legal advice and support for a range of issues, including DFV. For all women LBTI inclusive.
1800 686 587


LGBTIQ Specific Services

These services are only available to call during office hours, unless otherwise specified.

LGBTI health organisation offering information, referrals, counselling, advocacy and practical support for LGBTI people in NSW experiencing DFV.
(02) 9206 2000

Inner City Legal Centre, Safe Relationships Project
Free legal advice and court support for LGBTIQ people experiencing DFV in NSW.
(02) 9332 1966

Free telephone and web based counselling, referrals and support for LGBTI people and their families.
3pm – 12am every day.
1800 184 527

Provide a wide range of support services across New South Wales supporting people of diverse genders, sexes and sexualities, their families and communities, including specialised services for young people (12-26), such as case management, counselling and supported accommodation. As well as information, referral and support for all ages.
(02) 8594 9555, rural free call: 1800 65 2010

The Gender Centre
Provides services such as counselling, accommodation, outreach and support for transgender, gender queer and gender questioning people in NSW.
(02) 9569 2366

OII Australia – Intersex Australia
Provides information, education and peer support for intersex people nation-wide.

Another Closet
For information and referral details on LGBTIQ domestic and family violence.

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


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