Report launch: LGBTQA+ people with disability’s experiences of abuse

The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University today released a new report exploring the experiences of violence, neglect, abuse and exploitation by people with a disability in Australia.

Produced in partnership with the Living with Disability Research Centre at La Trobe and compiled to inform the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability, the report, titled Violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of LGBTQA+ people with disability: a secondary analysis of data from two national surveys, explores detailed data from two of ARCSHS’ previous LGBTIQA+ health and wellbeing studies, Writing Themselves In 4 (a youth study surveying ages 14-21) and Private Lives 3 (surveying adult populations).

The report comes ahead of International Day of People with Disability on 3 December, and explores a wide range of experiences and issues of concern for LGBTQA+ people with disability, including coming out (and being supported to come out), safety at work, at school and in LGBTQA+ spaces, experiences of harassment, abuse and discrimination, family and intimate partner violence, suicidal feelings and connection to disability and LGBTQA+ communities.

“LGBTQA+ people with disability are as diverse as any other section of the population, and have different intersecting needs and experiences,” said lead researcher and acting ARCSHS Director, Associate Professor Adam Bourne. “We heard from people with multicultural backgrounds with disability who are having a much harder time talking about their gender identity or sexuality with family or friends. LGBTQA+ people with disability in rural areas told us how they didn’t have as much access to queer communities, and they didn’t always feel as safe or as included within health services that weren’t thinking about their gender identity or sexuality as well as their disability. Trans and gender diverse people with disability are even more likely to experience mental ill health and more likely to have attempted suicide at some points in their life. And we know those experiences are very much linked to experiences of verbal, physical or sexual harassment that are enacted against them.“

To support the report’s launch, a series of lived experience videos featuring LGBTQA+ people with disability has been released, exploring the intersectional experiences and challenges of navigating multiple identities, as well as a series of social media tiles by Rainbow Health Australia for organisations to use on the upcoming International Day of People with Disability.

In addition to informing the Royal Commission, the report’s findings are expected to be of wide use for all those working to support people with disability and for all organisations, policy makers and other stakeholders who work to ensure safe and affirming environments for both people with disability and those who are LGBTQA+.

“We also know that there’s great strength and resilience within the LGBTIQ community, and there’s much we know about how community connection and a sense of community belonging can foster much better and more positive health outcomes,” said Associate Professor Bourne.

The report is now available to download in PDF, accessible Word, and two Easy Read versions.