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"Gov't ignores LGBTdomestic violence"

Mon 6 Aug 2007 In: New Zealand Daily News

10AM: The manager of a leading LGBT New Zealand advocacy and support organisation has hit out at the Government for "sweeping the same-sex domestic violence issue into the closet". "Domestic violence is a problem for all members of the community” says Neil Denney, General Manager for the Auckland Gay and Lesbian Welfare Group. "We applaud the government for the work they are about to undertake in domestic violence against women and especially children, but it is important that the government and the public realize that domestic violence is not only contained to two groups within the community”. A recent meeting Denney attended at the Ministry of Social Development - aimed at investigating same-sex domestic violence - highlighted that same sex partnerships had similar rates of domestic violence to heterosexual partnerships, explains Denney. "For a number of reasons, these cases had a lower visibility and reporting rates and were misunderstood by health professionals”. Domestic violence for Gay, Lesbian Transgender and Bisexual people occurs not only from their same sex partner, but often by family and whanau who are unable to accept the differences in family member's sexual orientation. “Too often, domestic violence is seen as a gendered issue, when in reality it is an issue across gender race and sexual orientation,” Denney points out. “Recent New Zealand studies show that LGBT people do not turn to health practitioners - rather they tend to use friends as support networks.” Denney says. “It is sometimes difficult for people who are not open about their sexuality to openly discuss domestic violence with a health professional." The government is now providing significant funding for domestic violence programmes. "The recent Same-Sex Domestic Violence meeting was a first step in identifying the prevalence of same sex domestic violence.” Denney continues. The meeting had representatives from a diverse range of organisations including the Ministry of Social Development Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender Policy Team, NZ Police, Women's Refuge, Nga Pae o te Marama, Auckland Regional Public Health and Shakti Community Council. "In an effort to ensure the government has well informed advice from all sections of the community, those present at the Ministry meeting will investigate the issue further,” Denney makes clear. "The LGBT community believes that the Government is taking a good first step, however its terms of reference need to be broadened to include all sections of the community to give a more balanced picture of the problem."     Ref: AGLW (m)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Monday, 6th August 2007 - 8:38pm

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