Lack of personal safety experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and other diverse sexually orientated women demands immediate response - LGBTIQ+ Health Australia

Lack of personal safety experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and other diverse sexually orientated women demands immediate response

LGBTIQ+ Health Australia (LHA) is calling for immediate action to increase the personal safety of lesbian, gay, bisexual and other diverse sexually orientated (LGB+) 1 women in response to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showing LGB+ women experience sexual
violence at a rate of more than four times higher than heterosexual women.

For the first time in 2021-2022, the ABS included questions on sexual orientation in its Personal Safety Survey. The results of each category of violence and harassment shows LGB+ women were more than two to four times more likely to report experiences of violence or harassment than heterosexual
women (see Supplementary Material in attachment).

“The basic human rights of women to feel and be safe are not being met. An immediate response is needed to the results of this first national population level data on LGB+ women’s experience of violence and harassment,” LHA Chair, Carolyn Gillespie (she/her) said.

“We have irrefutable evidence of the unacceptable levels of violence and harassment experienced by LGB+ women overwhelmingly perpetrated by men. Action must be taken immediately to improve the safety of LGB+ women,” Gillespie said.

Years of being ignored in health, social and economic strategies show the consequences for LGB+ women. This compelling evidence reveals the cost of inaction and represents a wake-up call for what it means to be an LGB+ woman living in Australia today.

“The disparities between LGB+ women and heterosexual women show that LGB+ women are falling through the net. We need an urgent stocktake of the National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-2032. The National Plan is not being translated into effective action to reduce
violence, and this is a failure not only for LGB+ women, but all LGBTIQ+ people."

While including questions on sexuality, the Personal Safety Survey did not use the ABS Standard for Sex, Gender, Variations of Sex Characteristics and Sexual Orientation Variables (ABS 2020 Standard) 2 as it was not available in time for the survey.

“These survey results show why questions on sex, gender, variations of sex characteristics and sexual orientation must be used in all population surveys to guide policy and service planning. LHA calls for targeted funding to speed up adoption and implementation of the ABS Standard,” Gillespie said.

“If the ABS 2020 Standard had been used, we would have insight into violence experienced by trans and gender diverse people, which we know occurs at even higher rates. It would have also given insight into the personal safety experience of intersex people.

Media contact: Tammy Wayne-Elliot, Managing Director, Fifty Acres, 0414 428 440

View the full release and supplementary data

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ABOUT LGBTIQ+ Health Australia
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, (formerly the National LGBTI Health Alliance), is the national peak health organisation in Australia for organisations and individuals that provide health-related programs, services and research focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer people and other sexuality, gender and bodily diverse (LGBTIQ+) people and communities. Dropping the “+” from our name only occurs within digital formats that do not allow mathematical symbols, such as within our domain name, handles and hashtags.
LGBTIQ+ Health Australia acknowledges the Traditional Owners of country throughout Australia, their diversity, histories and knowledge and their continuing connections to land and community. We pay our respects to all Australian Indigenous Peoples and their cultures, and to Elders of past and present.