Cache TestWe are a strong voice for LGBTQ domestic violence victims and survivors, working to end domestic, family and intimate partner violence and abuse within LGBTQ communities.
The LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness Foundation is a charity comprised of a collective of passionate volunteers, desperate to shine a light on an epidemic that’s been plaguing LGBTQ communities for far too long.
Although limited, research has indicated that over 60% of LGBTQ people have experienced domestic, family and intimate partner violence. This needs to change! On top of that, there is a fundamental lack of awareness, representation and understanding that this abuse is so prevalent. Because of this, LGBTQ people feel unseen and often have limited resources to draw from to get help.
It is the ambition of LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness Foundation to confront these issues and to advocate for necessary changes in both the visibility of LGBTQ people’s experiences and the quality of response they receive when reaching out for help. We aim to create change and bring greater awareness to the issues to ensure that all people no matter their sexuality or gender identity can feel seen and believed and receive safe and inclusive support.
To ensure that every victim’s voice was heard, in 2020 with the assistance of DVConnect and the Queensland Council for LGBTI Health, Ben Bjarnesen established the inaugural LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness Day to raise awareness of Domestic and Family Violence in LGBTQ communities in Queensland, Australia. The campaign quickly gained support both within Australia and overseas with many high-profile figures showing their support for the day including Former Governor-General of Australia, The Honourable Dame Quentin Bryce AD CVO and the Prime Minister of Australia, The Honourable Scott Morrison MP.
Meet Our Board
Thanks must go to our board members for their incredible support and for volunteering their time to make LGBTQ communities safer for everyone.
Ben Bjarnesen BM
Founder and Managing Director
A 2016 Churchill Fellow, Ben travelled to the USA, Canada, UK and the Netherlands where he discovered best practice solutions for Police Departments to enhance the way they respond to domestic violence in LGBTQ communities and the critical need for LGBTQ inclusive support services. He has since been actively involved in advising government and non-government organisations internationally on a range of initiatives designed to improve service delivery to LGBTQ communities.
Ben is an awarded educator and campaigner. In 2020 he had the honour of being inducted into the Queensland Government Domestic & Family Violence Prevention Honour Roll. He was also named a ‘Human Rights Hero’ by the Australian Human Rights Commission and one of Australia’s Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders by Deloitte, Google and Energy Australia. Most recently he was awarded the International Association for Chiefs of Police ’40 under 40’ Award for his commitment and leadership in improving relationships between the police and LGBTIQ communities. He has also been named as one of the top 50 most influential and inspiring LGBTI Australians by Cosmopolitan Magazine for his work in this area.
Deputy Managing Director
From way back in the 90’s, Beck was an active campaigner for LGBTQ rights. She was the Managing Editor for BrotherSister, Queensland’s then leading independent community newspaper for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identified people. In a time before the world wide web, Beck was entrusted with a significant responsibility to ensure LGBTQ people, especially those in regional areas, had an accessible way to connect with culture, art, music, politics, health information, safe services and events!
Beck was one of the first openly lesbian-identified foster carers approved by the Queensland Government and was active in the Queensland Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby and Queensland Pride Collective. She currently sits on the National Sector Advisory Committee for 1800RESPECT, Stopping Gender Violence Advisory Board for QUT and is a member of the Queensland Government’s CALD Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Roundtable Advisory Group.
Sami currently works as the National Viral Hepatitis Program Manager for the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine and leads workforce training and capacity building, resource development, and policy and advocacy projects in the viral hepatitis space. She is committed to increasing visibility for LGBTQ+ communities experiencing domestic and family violence.
Kristen began her legal career in private practice (commercial litigation) before moving in-house within the resources sector. Whilst in the resources sector she was nominated as an Exceptional Young Woman in the Queensland Resources Sector and for the National Association of Women in Construction’s Diversity Award.
Since moving into the not-for-profit sector, she has twice been nominated as Not-for-Profit Lawyer of the Year at the national law awards. In her spare time, Kristen has spent time as a volunteer counsellor at Diverse Voices and as a mentor for Out for Australia.
Brendan was the project lead behind the QPS 2019 ‘One Step Better’ campaign which illustrated the complexities serving LGBTQ officers face as they continue to bridge a divide between themselves, the Service, and the community.
Currently working in a reactive media role, Brendan sees firsthand the scourge of domestic violence and is committed to working towards its ultimate eradication from our communities.
Dr Rhys Young
The medical profession has often been a source of pain and discrimination for queer folk. Rhys takes pride in ‘working from within’ to help undo these wrongs.
New South Wales
Australian Capital Territory
Kristina Duncan & Adele Aria