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Government sweeps same sex domestic violence in to the closet

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    Government sweeps same sex domestic violence in to the closet - 7-Oct-2007
    "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" he said, "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 he 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". Mr. Denney said "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 (GLTB) people occurs not only from their same sex partner but often by family and whanau who are unable to accept the differences within the family and the family memberís orientation. "Too often domestic violence is seen as a gender issue, when in reality it is an issue across gender race and sexual orientation" he says.

    "Recent New Zealand studies show that GLTB people do not turn to health practitioners rather they tend to use friends as support networks" He said. "It is sometimes difficult for people who are not open about their sexuality to openly discuss domestic violence with a health professional" he said.

    The government is providing a large amount of funding in its current domestic violence programmes and the recent Same Sex Domestic Violence meeting was a first step in identifying the prevalence of same sex domestic violence" said Neil Denney. "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".

    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, Womenís Refuge, Nga Pae o te Marama, Auckland Regional Public Health and Shakti Community Council.

    "The GLTB 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" said Neil Denney.
    Ref: - Outline NZ


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