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April 22, 2021

Sorting It Out: GBTIQ consultations for domestic violence and sexual assault

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Gaining a better understanding of gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (GBTIQ) men’s attitudes towards and experiences of domestic violence and sexual assault is the focus of new research from ACON and Western Sydney University.

Sorting It Out is a landmark study commissioned by NSW’s leading LGBTQ health organisation, ACON, and conducted by researchers at Western Sydney University, that looks at GBTIQ men’s attitudes and experiences of intimate partner violence (IPV) and sexual assault.

Ahead of the release of the study’s findings, two community consultation sessions are being held soon in Sydney and Lismore during June. The consultations will provide community members with the opportunity to hear from experts in the LGBTIQ domestic and family violence sector, to explore the findings of the research, and to identify priorities as a community.

‘ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill says that ACON commissioned this research because there was a real gap in data looking specifically at the experiences of gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer men with domestic violence and sexual assault.

‘Knowing more about men’s understandings and responses to relationship violence and abuse will help inform the development of messages, programs and responses that address these issue,’ he said.

Almost 900 GBTIQ men over the age of 18 were involved in the Sorting It Out study. Some key findings include: Almost two thirds of men indicated that they had been in an unhealthy or abusive relationship in the past; Younger men were more likely than older men to report incidents of abuse within the last 4 years; Men who had experienced abuse from a partner were more likely to binge drink more frequently and had higher levels of drug-taking than men who did not report partner abuse; 51 per cent of respondents agreed that sexual coercion and pressure are common amongst GBTIQ men; and, 73.7 per cent of respondents said they have a male GBTIQ friend who has been in an abusive relationship.

Mr Parkhill says that while some aspects of IPV among GBTIQ men mirrors the types and levels in the broader community, GBTIQ men face a range of specific challenges.

‘We know that the physical, emotional and personal costs of IPV and sexual assault in our communities are often the same as they are for heterosexual people. However, when it comes to the experiences of GBTIQ men, there are some aspects unique to that community that require its own set of responses and support,’ he said.

‘This study is important as it asks GBTIQ men questions that they have never been asked on a large scale before, such as about whether or not they would intervene in a friend’s abusive relationship, and whether there were ever excuses for violence. In order to fully support GBTIQ men and foster healthy relationships, we need to understand more about their experiences about intimate partner violence as well as their attitudes on relationships.

‘These community consultation will gives us an important opportunity to hear from GBTIQ men on what kinds of support and actions they need to address IPV and sexual assault and to build healthy relationships.’

ACON will also be conducting a social media awareness raising campaign about the supports available for men who have experienced IPV in their relationships.

The local consultation event will be held on 13 June, 5.30 – 8.30pm, Richmond Hotel Function Room, 36 Woodlark St, Lismore

You can view the report and/or RSVP for the community consultation at: sayitoutloud.org.au/sorting-it-out.

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