Our end of year newsletter

Amidst all of the challenges of 2021, we have been continually heartened by the growing commitment out in the community to meeting the health and wellbeing needs of LGBTIQ communities.

COVID-19 has had a profound impact on all of our lives, and there is growing evidence that LGBTIQ communities are impacted disproportionately in a range of areas including mental health, family violence, job security and housing.

This has spurred on the Rainbow Health Victoria team to push harder to deliver projects and activities that support knowledge and action to improve the inclusion of and outcomes for LGBTIQ communities.

Service capability and access

We’ve been lucky enough this year to have the Private Lives 3 and Writing Themselves In 4 reports in public circulation, and are continuing to partner with ARCSHS on a range of publications and supplementary research projects that focus in further on key issues for LGBTIQ health and wellbeing.

We have made the most of these robust and comprehensive research findings, pushing them out through presentations, training content, policy submissions and advocacy. In doing so, we’ve continued to build strong relationships and partnerships with government, peak bodies and service providers across a range of sectors.

This work has yielded significant progress in the last year, with growing formal recognition at both state and Commonwealth levels that LGBTIQ people require prioritisation in policy and funding frameworks across areas including mental health, family violence, ageing and aged care, and disability.

We look forward to building on this in coming years to make meaningful improvements in inclusive service delivery and service systems, in funded research and data systems that include LGBTIQ people, and in a focus on prevention and health promotion to ensure long-term improvements in outcomes for LGBTIQ communities.

Research impact

Our collaborations with LGBTIQ community-controlled organisations have also grown stronger over the past year. The way in which these organisations have stepped up to meet community need has been awe-inspiring, but we’re also aware of the long-term and sustainable support they will need into the future, given the ongoing impacts of the pandemic.

We have continued to facilitate a range of networks and forums that bring together LGBTIQ community-controlled organisations with mainstream services and providers seeking to improve their inclusive practice. It is continuously demonstrated that these connections are vital to building robust and safe service systems into the future.

We’ve also continued to update and improve all our training programs, making them available across the country through new online modules. We’re pleased to have signed on a new accreditation body, the Australian Council for Health Care Standards, to assess organisations wishing to gain the Rainbow Tick.

We also launched an updated Rainbow Tick Framework and Guide to Accreditation in 2021. This guide will help any organisations considering undertaking Rainbow Tick accreditation, and has been re-designed as a framework and practical guide to action for any organisation at any stage of their journey towards greater LGBTIQ inclusion.

Changing our name

As the year draws to a close, we have also decided to make a subtle change to our name and branding. From 2022, we will begin using the name Rainbow Health Australia.

This change is being made in response to the expanding interest in and uptake of our training and accreditation programs across the country, and the growth in our national funding partners and stakeholder relationships. It also consolidates our role within ARCSHS as a nationally and internationally recognised research centre with a focus on LGBTIQ health and wellbeing.

We will continue to acknowledge the vital role of the Victorian Government in funding and supporting our work, and maintain a strong focus on delivering on the ground in Victoria. The name change formalises our aim to share and build upon this leadership to benefit LGBTIQ communities nationally.

Thanks to our partners and stakeholders for their commitment and engagement – it is wonderful to have achieved so much, and we look forward to building on this next year.

Marina Carman
Rainbow Health Victoria
Please be sure to update any places you refer or link to us!

Research and policy

Rainbow Health Victoria has continued to play a leading role in LGBTIQ health and social policy reform, drawing on the findings of key studies such as Private Lives 3 and Writing Themselves In 4 as well as the revised Rainbow Tick framework to provide advice to government and the health and human services sector.

Notable achievements include submissions to the next National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children, attendance at the Women’s Safety Summit, contributing to the newest edition of Change the Story, and co-hosting a seminar on the future of state mental health system reform in partnership with Mental Health Victoria and Thorne Harbour Health.

Rainbow Health has also contributed to a range of advisory groups and expert panels on mental health, family violence prevention, aging and aged care, gender equity, women’s health, the impact of COVID-19 and LGBTIQ inclusion.

LGBTIQ-inclusive practice training and capacity-building

With face-to-face training remaining unviable for most of the year, there was a high level of uptake of the ‘Flexible Learning Package’ we introduced in 2020 – a blended online learning model consisting of an asynchronous course, ‘Introduction to LGBTIQ-inclusive practice’, and a three-hour interactive webinar ‘Putting LGBTIQ inclusion into practice’.

The online course was acquired by an additional 26 organisations in 2021, providing foundational LGBTIQ-inclusive practice education to a total of 2,372 staff members. The follow-up webinar was provided 41 times, supporting approximately 1,435 staff members to contextualise and apply their learnings to their own role and organisational contexts. In the short window between lockdowns, we were also able to provide two face-to-face training sessions to approximately 50 learners.

Interest in and uptake of our HOW2 training program continued to grow steadily, and we delivered two

streams of the series of seven individual three-hour online webinars. This empowered approximately 70 organisational leaders to lead the way within their organisations in developing services and a culture that is inclusive for LGBTIQ staff and clients.

We also worked diligently behind the scenes this year to develop an update to our ‘Introduction to LGBTIQ inclusive practice’ online course, incorporating new data from Private Lives 3 and Writing Themselves In 4 as well as best-practice online education principals and techniques. We look forward to launching this new, improved iteration of the course in early 2022.

Rainbow Network

In 2021, Rainbow Network continued to build the capacity of mainstream services and organisations to provide safe, welcoming and inclusive services for young LGBTIQA+ Victorians.

Professional development sessions this year focused on:

  • Supporting healthy sex and sexuality
  • Housing and experiences of homelessness
  • Responding to suicide
  • Statistics and research from a practical perspective
  • LGBTIQA+ young people and alcohol and other drug (AOD) use
In addition to these sessions, which were open to anyone who works with LGBTIQA+ young people, we offered a series of Queer Worker Reflective

Practice sessions.

We shared resources, research, opportunities and current advice on good practice though our newsletters, website and social media, and developed new resources focused on trans and gender diverse inclusion, family of origin violence and preventing burnout,.

Rainbow Network continues to be an active member of the Healthy Equal Youth (HEY) partnership, and to represent the needs of LGBTIQA+ young people and the workers and services who support them, through advocacy, policy development and consultation.

LGBTIQ Family Violence Sector Capacity-building project

The project team spent the first part of the year engaging in a range of consultations to develop a set of key focus areas for change to improve LGBTIQ inclusion in the family violence sector.

These focus areas include:

  • building a shared vision of LGBTIQ inclusion across family violence sector leadership
  • improving safety for LGBTIQ people at key entry points in to the service sector
  • improving priority population pathways (GBTQ men and non-binary people)
  • strengthening mainstream family violence organisations’ response to LGBTIQ family violence and improving connections with LGBTIQ specialist services.

The project also continues to support the Queer Family Violence Sector Network.

LGBTIQ Family Violence Primary Prevention project

This project has continued to build on the success of 2020, developing mainstream and LGBTIQ community capacity in the emerging field of LGBTIQ family violence primary prevention.

This included successful piloting of several projects in partnership with key LGBTIQ community and mainstream primary prevention organisations. These projects were co-designed using the model proposed in Pride in Prevention, released in 2020.

In July, we officially launched Pride in Prevention: A guide to support communications and engagement in primary prevention of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ communities.

This guide provides additional support to organisations and practitioners in developing effective and appropriate family violence prevention messaging, and in delivering this through public campaigns, social media communications and policy work. It also aims to support community engagement in developing and delivering prevention messaging, and specifically engaging with LGBTIQ communities.

An independent evaluation of the project found that these resources and pilot projects successfully built the expertise that LGBTIQ organisations and family violence primary prevention organisations need to design and deliver primary prevention activities, and that the project established several successful partnerships and networks to support capacity building and collaboration. 

Queer Family Violence Sector Network 

The Queer Family Violence Network grew to over 1,000 members this year and continued to garner interest from Victorian and interstate sector participants, with quarterly online meetings regularly gathering over 100 attendees.

This year, the Network held multiple communities of practice for the sector and collaborated with other organisations on monthly events that were aimed at further strengthening connections between mainstream and LGBTIQ specialist services.

The Network facilitated 11 community of practice sessions, 10 Service in the Spotlight webinars and over 40 hours of one-on-one consultations with key sector organisations. The Network also collaborated on the LGBTIQ Family Violence Forum for the third year running, which achieved over 800 total session registrations and 400 unique attendees over three days.

Val’s LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care

Throughout 2021, Val’s provided information, training, events and support to the aged care sector, and in particular to the Victorian Community Home Support Program. This was  part of Rainbow Health’s sector support and development role – building capacity and knowledge to support the sector to deliver LGBTI-informed, safe and inclusive care to older people.

The delivery of training remained central and was achieved completely via online platforms. Demand remained strong. Online delivery enabled us to extend our geographic reach and include a wider range of participants – with positive feedback from rural and regional providers about increased accessibility. Seven forums and events with over 330 participants were conducted in partnership with aged care and sector

stakeholders, with a number of these profiling older LGBTI people sharing their lived experiences to complement evidence-based research and further inspire and inform inclusive practice outcomes and action.

Val’s created a range of educational resources and targeted, sector-specific information, and throughout 2021 has worked on a new suite of resources to be released in 2022.

Rainbow Tick

Rainbow Tick continued to grow in 2021. There was an increase in the number of registrations and enquiries about Rainbow Tick accreditation compared to the previous year, with 19 organisations registered and 24 organisations accredited. This now means that a total of 56 organisations currently hold Rainbow Tick accreditation.

We launched a new Rainbow Tick Framework and Guide to Accreditation early in 2021. Designed as a framework and practical guide to action, these updated resources will support any organisation at any stage of their journey towards greater LGBTIQ inclusion. We also introduced and launched a suite of Rainbow Tick tools and templates as part of the HOW2 learner materials, and these received tremendously positive feedback from participants who used them back in their workplace.

We are pleased to have signed on a new accreditation body, the Australian Council for Health Care Standards (ACHS). ACHS joins Quality Innovation

Performance as independent assessors for organisations wishing to gain Rainbow Tick accreditation.

Throughout 2021 we continued to offer Rainbow Tick Community of Practice sessions to support and connect those working to develop LGBTIQ safe and welcoming services. Using the Rainbow Tick standards as a framework to guide best practice, the group is open to people from any organisation, at any point in a journey towards LGBTIQ inclusion. These sessions grew in popularity this year, with between 50 and 70 individuals logging in to each of the six capacity building and peer-to-peer learning sessions.

New respectful relationships resource: the Transfemme website

Transfemme is a free online website, produced by the Zoe Belle Gender Collective with support from Rainbow Health Victoria. It supports healthier relationships between trans women and straight and Bi+ cis men.

The website contains stories from trans women about their experiences of navigating dating and intimacy with men, and has fantastic tips for cis guys who want to be more respectful when dating or hooking up with trans women.
Visit the Transfemme website

The Pride & Pandemic Survey

The Pride & Pandemic survey is now live! Pride & Pandemic aims to understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ communities in Australia.

The study team from La Trobe University and LGBTIQ+ Health Australia is keen to hear from LGBTIQ+ identified people aged 18+ who have been living in Australia during the pandemic.

Pride & Pandemic is an anonymous survey exploring your experiences of social connection, wellbeing and access to healthcare and supports through the pandemic. These findings will be of great value for those working to protect and support the mental health and

wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ communities in times of crisis.

If you are an LGBTIQ+ person aged over 18 years, the Pride & Pandemic team would love to hear from you. Take the survey now and share!

Take the Pride & Pandemic Survey
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We have recently updated how we manage our newsletter lists. Let us know if you would also like updates about the Rainbow Tick, our training programs, or projects such as Rainbow Network or Val’s LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care.
Copyright © 2021 Rainbow Health Australia, ARCSHS, La Trobe University, All rights reserved.

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