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Violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of LGBTQA+ people with disability

  • Research program
Publication date

Violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of LGBTQA+ people with disability

Research Report


The Disability Royal Commission has published a research report that looks at LGBTQA+ people with disability who have experienced violence, abuse and neglect.

The research focused on two surveys which were filled out by thousands of people in Australia who are LGBTQA+. Intersex people were included in the surveys, but not enough intersex people responded to include results from this group. One survey looked at young people aged 14 to 21 years. The other survey looked at adults aged 18 years or over. Many people who filled out the surveys said they had a disability.

The research report was written by researchers from La Trobe University, Melbourne.

What did the research tell us?

The research told us that LGBTQA+ people with disability experience higher rates of many types of violence, abuse, neglect and discrimination.

They experience higher rates of:

  • verbal harassment or abuse because of their gender or sexual orientation

  • physical harassment or abuse because of their gender or sexual orientation

  • sexual harassment because of their gender or sexual orientation

  • social exclusion

  • feeling unsafe or uncomfortable at school.

The research said LGBTQA+ people with disability also experience high rates of abuse or violence from:

  • a relationship partner

  • a family member.

The research said LGBTQA+ people with disability were more likely than LGBTQA+ people without disability to:

  • think about suicide

  • attempt suicide

  • suicide.

The research also said LGBTQA+ people with disability are more likely to experience some types of abuse or violence than other groups if they:

  • live in rural or regional areas

  • are trans or gender diverse

  • have an intellectual disability.

What did the research recommend?

The research made several recommendations to address these concerning findings. Some of these are:

  • Including LGBTQA+ people with disability in all government health and wellbeing policies and plans – to ensure environments are safe and inclusive for LGTBQA+ people with disability.

  • Campaigns to focus on what causes abuse and neglect. These campaigns should be co-designed with LGBTQA+ people with disability and be delivered in different settings like schools, sporting clubs, work places etc. They would help the public understand ableism, heteronormativity and cisnormativity.

  • Sharing skills between organisations and the sector. There should be different resources available for organisations to assess if they are inclusive and how they can improve. LGBTQA+ organisations, disability organisations and family and domestic violence organisations can then work together to provide education, training and campaigns aimed at tackling violence, abuse, neglect or exploitation directed at LGBTQA+ people with disability.

  • Training and education for disability support organisations so they can better understand and respond to experiences of people with disability who are LGBTQA+. 

  • Support for people with intellectual disability. There is particular need for sexuality and relationship education programs for LGBTQA+ people with intellectual disability as this group experiences significant harm. These programs should be long-term and co-developed by LGBTQA+ people with intellectual disability.

  • Guidance and funded strategies to improve inclusion for LGBTQA+ people with disability and to keep them safe in all services and community settings.

For example:

  • campaigns to prevent bullying of LGBTQA+ young people with disability in schools

  • education and training for Auslan interpreters on LGBTQA+ inclusion and cultural safety.

More information

To read the full research report, visit our website.

Go to the ‘Publications’ section and click on ‘Research program’.