LGBTIQ+ Health Australia welcomes paid domestic violence leave

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (LHA) has welcomed the introduction of legislation making 10 days of paid domestic and family violence leave available to all employees and calls for further action to ensure lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans/transgender, intersex, queer and other sexuality and gender, and bodily diverse people (LGBTIQ+) people are included.

Nicky Bath, LHA’s Chief Executive Officer said it was essential that the legislation also convered LGBTIQA+ relationships.

“We welcome the introduction of this legislation and recognise the significant impact this will have for all people leaving abusive and unsafe relationships. It’s essential that LGBTIQ+ people are not left behind in the implementation of this legislation.

“We know that LGBTIQ+ people can experience unique forms of violence and barriers to accessing support. These understandings need to be embedded across all employers’ responses when supporting employees experiencing domestic, family, and sexual violence.”

LGBTIQA+ Health Australia highlighted that research has found LGBTIQ+ people experience intimate partner violence at similar levels to cisgender heterosexual women, with bisexual women and trans and gender diverse people reporting higher rates.

In the Private Lives 3 report, 60.7% of participants reported experiencing intimate partner violence and 64.9% reported experiencing family violence.

“LGBTIQ+ people are still relatively invisible in intimate partner and family violence research, policy, service planning and delivery. Despite increased research, there are significant knowledge and evidence gaps about family, domestic, and sexual violence within LGBTIQ+ communities.

“It is a relatively uncommon area of expertise within health and social service settings, including services that specialise in non-LGBTIQ+ intimate partner and family violence,” Bath said.

“The dominance of heteronormative and cisnormative models of family violence makes it harder to recognise family and domestic violence in LGBTIQ+ communities.

“Employers need to have clear diversity and inclusion policies so that their LGBTIQ+ employees feel they can safely disclose their situations and make use of this much needed additional domestic and family violence leave.

“We must end the culture of silence that contributes to LGBTIQ+ people staying in abusive relationships and not being able to access services and other vital support.” Bath said.

LHA has called for the inclusion of funded targeted actions in the next National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children that specifically address violence experienced by LGBTIQ+ people, particularly relating to prevalence data, drivers of violence, the role of LGBTIQ+ community-controlled organisations, and monitoring and evaluation.

Nicky Bath said LHA were looking forward to working with the government to implement the new plan.

“The opportunity we have to make the National Plan inclusive of LGBTIQ+ communities is in front of us. We look forward to working with the Labor Government to ensure that LGBTIQ+ people and communities are meaningfully included.”

The legislation allowing for the additional leave entitlement was one of the first pieces of legislation introduced into the new parliament. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese described domestic and family violence as a “stain on the national soul”.

Attending a vigil outside parliament house earlier this week the PM highlighted that a lot of domestic and family violence goes undetected.

“The fact is that not every sense of grief arises from a declared war but a conflict that takes place around us every single day,” he said.

“Every day this is occurring insidiously, quietly, relentlessly. It is a stain on our national soul that we have so much family and domestic violence.” the Prime Minister said.

It is proposed that the new scheme would come into place from February 2023, small businesses however will be given an extra six months to adapt to the change.

OIP Staff

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