But according to experts and survivors, this has created a false assumption that LGBT people are immune to intimate partner abuse. There is a lack of consensus and data on prevalence: many studies indicate rates are on par with the mainstream community — about a third of LGBT couples — however some evidence suggests this might be higher.Until now, LGBT people who are in a relationship where both they and their partner are abusive have largely remained traumatised and untreated as mainstream domestic violence services traditionally label people either perpetrator or victim, or don't recognise the abuse at all.
This has meant victims who have also been perpetrators have been shut out of victim assistance programs or treatment.
But a new trial intervention program for women and gender-diverse perpetrators of family violence who have been convicted of crimes will tackle this problem head-on.
"Very few services recognise the complexity of their offending, [and] the complexity of their life story," Ms Field said of the up to 30 perpetrators who are taking part in the trial, which was launched this month by Drummond Street Services.
The trial, which will also include up to 60 victims, will look at each perpetrator's case individually, rather than slotting each person into the 'victim' or 'perpetrator' template, and will aim to address underlying trauma, if it is the source of abuse.
Complementing this is a new two-year project training mainstream domestic violence services across Victoria to be more LGBT-inclusive and become "rainbow tick certified".
The project, run by Drummond Street Services and La Trobe University's GLHV centre, aims to teach counsellors that although the nature of domestic abuse in LGBT relationships is generally similar to straight relationships — in that abusers typically attempt to control partners through financial, emotional and physical abuse — many of the specific tactics they use are different.
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