IF YOU OR SOMEONE ELSE
IS IN DANGER CALL 000
Artist: Amy Blue, Sydney

Getting Help

If you are looking for professional support, go to our ‘find a service’ page here where you can search for a service to meet your needs. If you or someone else is in immediate danger call 000.

This page is for anyone who has been the victim of sexual, family and/or intimate partner violence.

If you or someone you know is abusing their loved one and needs help changing their behaviour, please visit the Are You Hurting Someone page for more information.

Talk to Someone

If you are being abused, or even if you realise that you are abusing someone you love, it can feel very overwhelming, scary, confusing and isolating.

If you have someone in your life that you can trust, like a family member, friend or counsellor, it may help to talk to them.

Here are some tips for how to have that difficult conversation:

Safety First

Make sure you choose someone you can trust, who will put safety first, and who can be judgement free and reliable.

Choose The Right Time and Place

Tell them you need to meet with them privately when they have enough time for a longer conversation with you. Make it clear that you need their undivided attention. Talk to them in a safe location where there is little chance of being overheard or interrupted.

Prepare for the Reaction

Talking about abuse is not easy and neither is hearing about it. The person you are talking to may find the information difficult to understand, hard to believe and process. They may minimise the abusive actions and say things like, “it can’t be that bad” or “maybe they are just going through a rough patch”.

We know that abuse is that bad, and that there are ZERO excuses for treating the people badly, but maybe your friend doesn’t know that, or maybe they are in shock and don’t want to believe it. Try giving them time to absorb the information. You can give them the details for this website and/or tell them exactly what help you need, and make sure that includes their confidentiality.

Once you have brought the abuse to their attention, it will no doubt be on their mind and they will probably start to put the pieces of the puzzle together if they didn’t already know. Most importantly: Don’t doubt your own experiences or judgement!

To most people, abusers may appear charming and friendly and by all accounts seem to be a good person. This makes it hard as your friend or family member may not believe you at first, even if it is you who admits to being the abuser.

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Police

Police in all Australian states and territories are trained in equity and diversity and should not show any discrimination when assisting you.

However, despite this, many sexuality and gender diverse people are reluctant to contact the police due to a fear of discrimination and/or minimisation. This is mostly due to negative past experiences and a tense history between LGBTQ+ people and the police.

All Australian states except Western Australia and the Northern Territory have LGBTQ+ liaison officers. To find out more about police in your state make sure you are logged into your state by checking the top right corner of the page beside the search function. Then see below for ‘in your state’.

Court

Court staff are all trained in equity and diversity and should not show any discrimination during the court process. However, many LGBTQ+ people are hesitant to deal with courts for fear of discrimination.

In 2008, the Australian Government introduced reforms to ensure that same sex de-facto couples are entitled to the same benefits and subject to the same obligations as opposite sex couples.

The laws about AVO’s are the same for LGBTQ+ people as they are for non-LGBTQ+ people.

The court is expected to respect your preferred name and pronoun, however your gender history and sexuality may be disclosed. If you have changed your name then the name on your current identification is the name the courts will use.

If you are caring for any children in your relationship, you should seek legal advice about your rights under the law.

Keep Any Evidence

The proof you keep may be used as evidence in court.

Keep a diary of all abuse, including both physical and non-physical incidents. Make sure you include the date and time of each abuse, name the place it happened and list any witnesses. This type of documentation can be an integral part of your case when it comes time to file charges and/or to file for custody of your children.

Ideally, you should keep the diary hidden online. If you write it on paper do not leave it anywhere it can be found.

Keep any medical reports of injuries from the abuse. Ask your doctor about safe ways they can make notes about this abuse.

Take photos. Take pictures of any injuries from the abuse, as well as damage to the home and property. Record the date the photo was taken.

Record all other digital evidence. Let your abuser’s threatening calls go to voicemail and then save those voicemails. Save emails, threatening texts, screenshots of several missed calls in a row, and anything else that may be used as evidence as it can all be used later.

Save these things in a safe place. Send them to a private email account or another phone that the abuser cannot get to / does not know about.

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Protect Your Technology

Computer

  1. Visit the Web & App Activity page on Google if you’re using Chrome. You may be asked to sign in to your Google Account.
  2. Check the box next to the item you want to delete. You can delete an entire day of items by checking the box next to a date.
  3. At the top of the page, click on ‘delete’.

If you’re using Internet Explorer – go to “tools” on the main menu and select “Delete browsing history”. If you have downloaded any documents, make sure you can also delete your download history and remove them from the “downloads” file on the computer, then empty the recycling bin on your desktop.

Android App:

Tip: If you want to delete your recent searches under the search box, touch and hold the search you want to delete > OK. The search will be deleted from the Google app and your Web & App Activity.

Delete items one at a time

  1. In the Web & App Activity section of “Activity controls,” touch Manage Activity. You may be asked to sign in to your Google Account.
  2. Check the box next to the item you want to delete. You can delete an entire day of items by checking the box next to a date.
  3. At the top of the page, touch Delete.

iPhone or iPad App:

Any searches that you do while using the Google app are stored on your iPhone or iPad (device history), and also in your Web & App Activity.

Delete recent searches from your device.

When you’re searching in the Google app, you may see your recent searches appear as suggestions below the search box. You can delete these searches right from the search box.

  1. Open the Google app .
  2. Touch the search box that appears when you open the app.
  3. Swipe the search you want to remove to the left.
  4. Touch Delete.

Note: Any searches you’ve deleted from below the search box will be deleted from your iPhone or iPad device history, but a copy of the searches stays in your Web & App Activity.

If you’re searching in the Safari app, use a private window (this option is available when you click the plus sign to add a new window) and close it as soon as you’re finished. You can hit “private” again to return to the normal browser.

Facebook and Instagram:

Facebook and Instagram privacy and security options are improving all the time. For the latest information on how to protect yourself on these apps, go to this Facebook page, or this Instagram page. All reputable apps will have information on their privacy and security functions if you do a Google search.

In the meantime, here are a few tips:

  1. Privacy and security settings – do yourself a favour and spend some time checking this in all of your apps. Be selective about who can see your posts, tags, mentions, when and where you are online and anything else that could be used against you.
  2. Block – You can easily block someone else from seeing your profile and from being able to contact you through your profile. For some this is a great option, for others though you may want to still be able to track what that person is saying about you/doing. You can always block and un-block someone though the frequency with which you can do this is limited.
  3. Mute or restrict accounts – if blocking is not the best option, you can limit how much of your profile others can see. Facebook also has an ‘ignore’ button which means that you won’t receive messages from the person you select to ignore but that person won’t know you are ignoring them.
  4. Filter – In your settings you can filter comments, posts, stories and videos that are inappropriate, offensive or bullying.
  5. Report – if someone has posted something that is harmful to you (an image or post) you can report this in both apps. In most cases the image will be removed and in some cases the account will be disabled.
  6. Photo-matching technologies – Both apps (plus Messenger) have the ability to scan reported images that you submit  of yourself that you do not want shared (for example an erotic selfie)  and if someone tries to share that image it will be blocked and the user will be alerted. That means you can have an image blocked from being shared before someone tries to share it.
  7. Tell your friends – if any of your friends are ‘friends’ with or ‘followed by’ your abuser, ask them not to tag you in anything or post anything about you. It is best that your abuser doesn’t know where you are at any given time.

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In my State (QLD)

Domestic Violence Orders (DVO’s)

A Domestic Violence Order (DVO) is an official document through the court to stop threats, or acts of domestic and/or family violence. These are designed to keep the ‘aggrieved’ (the person seeking protection from violence) safe from the ‘respondent’ (the person committing domestic violence) by making it illegal for the respondent to behave in specific ways. Under Queensland law, people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or intersex are entitled to the same rights in relationships where abuse has occurred.

The Domestic and Family Violence Protection Act (2012) provides protection from violence, for people who are or who have been in:

  • A spousal relationship (partner that you live with)

An intimate personal relationship (Two people with an established relationship)

  • A family relationship (a parent or former parent of a child or relatives/kin)
  • An informal care relationship (where one person is dependent on the other person for help for daily living activities e.g. dressing, showering, cooking)

You can add family, friends, children, step-children, unborn children, new partners and/or work colleagues to this order listed as “named persons” at the time of application or amending.

Who can not apply for a DVO?

  • Neighbours, flatmates, work colleagues or friends
  • Children who are under the age of 18 and are being violent towards you, additionally anyone under the age of 18 years cannot apply for a DVO against their parents/family members. These would be considered within the scope of the Child Protection system. Remember, if you are under 18 years of age you can be a ‘named person’ on another DVO.

Process:

  1. If The Queensland Police Service (QPS) have decided to issue a Police Protection Notice (PPN) and/or make an application for a DVO on your behalf, then they will complete all of the paperwork. A PPN can be issued on the spot to provide protection from future domestic violence whilst waiting for your DVO to be approved through the courts. You may or may not need to be present for this court appearance.
  2. If you are wanting to apply for a DVO privately, then it is recommended to link in with your local DV service and/or legal service (see services list) to assist with preparing this application. This can ensure that all of the information required by the magistrate is provided when the forms are lodged. You will need to be present for a private DVO, link in with the local DV service for court support on the day.

Both processes will have a court date within the first 3-4 weeks after being lodged. Depending on the outcome from this first appearance, the DVO may be granted, the matter may be set for a hearing, or the matter may be adjourned for the respondent to seek legal advice or to be served with the paperwork.

Further information for DVO applications and the application forms for QLD can be found here: https://www.courts.qld.gov.au/going-to-court/domestic-violence/domestic-violence-orders/applying-for-a-domestic-violence-order

Video on Domestic Violence Court Process:
https://www.courts.qld.gov.au/going-to-court/domestic-violence/videos-on-domestic-violence-court-process

It is possible to register an interstate domestic violence order to protect you whilst living in QLD. You must complete an Application to Declare a DVO to be a recognised interstate order at a magistrate court.It is possible to register a domestic violence order from New Zealand to protect you whilst living in QLD. You must complete an Application to register New Zealand order in Queensland at a magistrate court.  If you do not have a copy of your original order, the clerk at the court can get a copy of this at no additional cost to you. The court will provide a copy of the certificate of registration, with a copy of the interstate / New Zealand order attached. The court will not provide a copy to the RESP, unless you agree in writing, to protect the identification of your new location for either of the above.

Queensland Police

The QLD Police Service has been working to promote trust between themselves and the LGBTIQ community, and in response they have created the LGBTI Liaison Program. As part of this program there are approx. 130 police personnel across QLD who are dedicated LGBTI liaison officers. These officers receive specific training to work respectfully with LGBTIQ people and to promote trust and support; have an understanding of equity and diversity; and to remove discrimination or minimization of reporting. The officers provide non-judgmental and discrete support, advice and referrals for all police related matters. These officers undertake the role of LGBTI liaison officer in addition to their usual duties, and as such they may not be available at all times.

These liaison officers are there to assist and support LGBTIQ people whilst dealing with police matters. Whilst it is important to note that any issues or statements can be provided to any QPS officer, if you wish to have the support of the LGBTI liaison officer or to discuss your concerns with them, you can request an LGBTI Liaison Officer specifically.  If you wish to place a police related issue or complaint, you can either contact Police Link – who will assist with linking you in with a LGBTI liaison officer in your area, or you can follow this link here (https://www.police.qld.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-09/LGBTI-Liaison-Officer-Contact-list-2020.pdf) .  These officers are not located at every station.

QLD does not have specific DV officers.

Ways to Contact QPS:
QLD Police Service have developed an online or SMS DFV Policelink reporting option for anyone who is hearing impaired. During Covid-19 restrictions they have expanded this to also assist vulnerable persons experiencing DFVSA. This new online reporting option can be used by anyone who cannot safely call 000, however if you are safe to call 000 please still do so.

This option does require pre-registration by the identified person via an online registration form, which can be accessed here: https://www.police.qld.gov.au/domestic-violence. The registration updates a person’s contact details in the Queensland Police Service system and provides Police with means to immediately identify the person who has sent the SMS and their address, so that police can provide assistance. Once registered, the person will be provided with a mobile telephone number they can use to contact Policelink to request police assistance.  This expanded service of SMS reporting is a further option for requesting police assistance for those high risk vulnerable persons who may be in isolation as a result of COVID-19 and cannot safely dial ‘000’ or ‘131 444’ to request police assistance when domestic violence may be occurring.

  • Non-urgent Qld Police SMS: 0437 131 444
  • Non-urgent Qld Police voice:   131 444
  • Non-urgent Qld Police e-mail: policelinkDS@police.qld.gov.au
  • Emergency Voice:  000
  • Emergency NRS: 106

Barriers to engaging with Police/ QLD law:

Changing sex and/or name with Queensland Police Service (QPS): Since May 2020 QPS have launched an online Change of Personal Details form which will allow people to update their legal name, sex and also how they identify. This form allows members of the public to ensure the use of their correct names, pronouns and sex during any interactions with the Police. (https://forms.police.qld.gov.au/SexNameChange?AspxAutoDetectCookieSupport=1).  This form requests one of the below documents for verification

  • An updated birth certificate with your updated name and/or sex
  • A recognized details certificate (from an Australian Births, Deaths and Marriages Registry) with your updated name and/or sex
  • Change of Name certificate
  • Passport

In 2017, QLD abolished the “gay panic defence” or “homosexual advance defence” which allowed a man charged with murder to claim that he had been provoked by “a non-violent sexual advancement” from the deceased man resulting in the death. In turn, this would reduce the crime from murder to manslaughter decreasing the penalty. This defence was used in a number of Australian murder trials throughout the years, and after two separate cases of men in Maryborough (QLD) attempting to use this defence, local Priest Father Paul Kelly led the way to have this removed from QLD law.

Gay Conversion Therapy:

In 2018, a report by La Trobe University and the Human Rights Law Centre found that gay conversion therapy is “pervasive” in Australian faith communities, with at least 10 organisations offering the “practice” in Australia and New Zealand. In August 2020, Queensland became the first state in Australia to criminalise and ban gay conversion therapy after the state voted to make this an illegal practice. Under this new law, Doctors, Counsellors and Psychologists could face up to 18 months in jail for attempting to change or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity using practices such as aversion therapy, hypnotherapy and psychoanalysis. Queensland Deputy Premier and Health Minister Steven Miles introduced the legislation to outlaw conversion practice, and this was supported by the Australian Psychological Society and the Queensland Human Rights Commission. Victoria and the ACT have advised that they are also committed to banning this therapy.

Further reading…

Safety Planning

Safety Planning

Learn about safety planning and find resources for LGBTQ+ people experiencing sexual, family and/or intimate partner violence (SFIPV). See more

Also in this section…

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