Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Same sex domestic violence help please

In about a month's time, I am delivering a paper for Australia's CEO Challenge about same sex domestic violence. This will of course be in May, which is Domestic Violence Prevention Month in my home state, Queensland.

It is unfortunate but true that domestic violence is not confined to straight relationships. It occurs in gay, lesbian and trans relationships too.

One of the greatest joys for me as a lawyer is to be able to help ensure that a client is safe. As one of my clients said last year: "I don't feel afraid any more."

While I have acted for gay and lesbian (and one trans) clients who were the subjects of domestic violence from their partners, and while I have spoken about this topic before and know it well, I  would like to hear if anyone has been a survivor of same sex domestic violence. I would like to know if you identify as lesbian, gay, bi or trans and what domestic violence you were subjected to and what impact it had on you.

Many of my clients have said over the years that when it came to being hit and verbally abused, the latter was the worst. One client of mine told me in 1994: "Because the pain doesn't go away."

One topic that people are reluctant to talk about is sexual assault and abuse, as there is a veil of silence. To talk about domestic violence can be shameful, embarrassing and frightening. For survivors, sexual assault can be the most degrading and humiliating form of abuse. Sexual abuse can often be the key to the other behaviours of abuse in a relationship.

Domestic violence has many definitions. I consider that the definition in Queensland's Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act (which includes the ability to protect people in same sex relationships) are these acts committed by one person in a domestic relationship to the other:

  • wilful injury
  • wilfil damage to the other's property
  • harassment and intimidation
  • an indecent act to the body of the other, without the other's consent
  • a threat to commit any of these.
If anyone is prepared to contact me, you can contact me these ways:

email: spage@harringtonfamilylawyers.com

phone: 07 3221 9544

You can also tweet me, but you should only do so as a direct message, otherwise, unless you want it to, all the world will know what you have told me: http://twitter.com/stephenpagelaw

Any information you give me will be treated as completely confidential.

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