Input sought on LGBTQIA+ domestic violence support service Rainbow Gate

Warning: This article discusses domestic violence.

Mental health support organisation Connection And Wellbeing Australia (CAWA) are calling for LGBTIQA+ community involvement in the upcoming Rainbow Gate project.

Rainbow Gate is a chatbot designed by and for the Western Australian LGBTIQA+ community to access support and information about Family and Domestic Violence and Intimate Partner Violence (FDV/IPV).

The initiative will provide resources about the safety, equality or health of LGBTIQA+ people’s relationships, as well as places to reach out for connection and support.

Department of Communities provided funding for Ruah Community Services to develop a chatbot that responded to FDV/IPV, working with Connection and Wellbeing Australia to create a service that caters to LGBTIQA+ specific needs.

Speaking to Managing Director of Connection And Wellbeing Australia, Bella Broadway told OUTinPerth there is a massive gap in knowledge, support and services in WA.

“We knew this needed to be more than a chatbot, but rather a place that contained information about the very specific ways that LGBTIQA+ communities experience FDV/IPV,” Broadway explains.

The two organisations are working to fill these knowledge gaps, while ensuring the project is entirely led by the LGBTQIA+ community and experts.

“Ruah have been amazing in their allyship to get this project off the ground. They understand that the project has to be 100% led and delivered for and by LGBTIQA+ people, from the consultant groups, developers, designers and even the caterers.”

Rainbow Gate will guided by a Design and Consultancy Group of 10 regional based and 10 metropolitan based LGBTIQA+ people who will contribute to the chatbot and associated resources.

National studies show approximately 1 in 3 LGBTIQA+ people experience FDV or IPV and face significant barriers to accessing mainstream support services.

Understanding and awareness of Western Australian LGBTQIA+ experiences with FDV/IPV are limited due to constraints in current research including small numbers of WA participants among the data, as well as questions about services that do not exist in our state.

“There is so much diversity within the LGBTIQA+ community, so we are seeking a diverse range of people to be part of these groups,” Broadway continued.

“It is important that we bring in the intersections of gender, sexuality, body, relationships, culture, language, ability, age and many other aspects of lived experience, as these have bearing on how someone may think about, feel about, or experience FDV/IPV.”

The Rainbow Gate project will also be informed by a community survey, set to be released in the coming weeks to understand a broad range of perspectives on the issue.

“We will also be doing one-on-oone conversations and supporting LGBTIQA+ groups and services to undertake their own micro-consultations if they require,” Broadway tells us.

“It is about empowering anyone who has directly or indirectly experienced FDV/IPV to have their voice heard and ensure the product that is created works for the community.”

Rainbow Gate is set to be designed for people who need to access this support themselves, and also accessible for those who are concerned about a LGBTQIA+ friend, family member or loved one.

“We know that LGBTIQA+ people experiencing FDV/IPV often turn to community to support them, as services are not informed of their needs,” Broadway said.

“This is why part of Rainbow Gate includes training FDV workers and counsellors in LGBTIQA+ FDV best practice to ensure that they are equipped to support people in a safe, inclusive and informed way.”

The project will also deliver free LGBTIQA+ FDV/IPV workshops for LGBTIQA+ groups across the state.

“We have been delivering our LGBTIQA+ FDV/IPV training to services, police, and community groups and now with this project we will really be able to set the stage to build awareness about this issue,” Broadway says.

“We hope that the LGBTIQA+ community is able to join us in creating something meaningful and impactful.”

 

As a separate but connected piece of work, CAWA is also supporting the Department of Justice in their consultations about Coercive Control Legislation Reform.

“This will be a meeting for LGBTIQA+ community members to have their say on what they think needs to change in the way the Coercive Control is legislated across WA.”

Applications for the Design and Consultancy Group are open until 16 August 2022. For more information, head to Surveyplanet.

The Coercive Control Legislation Reform will be held on 19 August 2022, in person or online. For more information, contact [email protected]

Leigh Andrew Hill


Do you need some support?

If you are struggling with anxiety or depression, support and counselling are available from:

QLife: 1800 184 527 / qlife.org.au (Webchat 3pm – midnight)
QLife are a counselling and referral service for LGBTQIA+ people.

DISCHARGED[email protected]discharged.org.au
Discharged is a trans-led support service with peer support groups for trans and gender diverse folks.

Lifeline: 13 11 14 / lifeline.org.au

Beyondblue: 1300 22 4636 / www.beyondblue.org.au


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