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The Rainbow Health Victoria logo, a gradient bold outline of a rainbow with the words Evidence + Advocacy + Action
Our end of year newsletter
In such an unusual and challenging year, I’m extremely proud of the way that so many people have risen to the challenge and worked hard to provide services and support to meet the needs of LGBTIQ communities in 2020.

At Rainbow Health Victoria, we’ve pushed ourselves to deliver timely and relevant research, resources, policy advice and advocacy. This has been ever more important considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on health and wellbeing across the population, and for LGBTIQ communities specifically. We have argued strongly for the prioritisation of LGBTIQ needs and service responses in key areas.

Early on, we updated and reviewed all our training programs and offered additional online forums to allow networking and connections across services. We have worked closely with LGBTIQ community-controlled organisations and services, as well as mainstream services in a number of sectors, to adapt and meet community need. 

We were also part of launching the report for Private Lives 3, the largest national survey of LGBTIQ health and wellbeing. Early next year, this will be followed by the launch of Writing Themselves In 4, the largest national survey of young LGBTQA+ people. This research provides vital insights into the good and the bad in LGBTIQ people’s lives, and will be key to informing policy and practice for years to come.

Our new information series, Research Matters, was launched this year and will continue to deliver accessible and concise summaries of current research relevant to LGBTIQ health and wellbeing. This includes looking at concepts and definitions, as well as research relevant to particular communities or issues within the LGBTIQ ‘umbrella’. 

This year we have also been working hard on an updated Rainbow Tick Guide to LGBTIQ-Inclusive Practice. This guide will help any organisations undertaking Rainbow Tick accreditation, and has also been re-designed for use as a framework and practical guide to action for any organisation at any stage of their journey towards greater LGBTIQ inclusion. The guide will be launched on Wednesday February 24, 2021. 

Thanks to our partners and stakeholders for their engagement – it has made this year bearable, and even productive! 
A headshot photo of Marina Carman smiling at the camera
Warm regards,

Marina Carman
Rainbow Health Victoria
A photo of Rainbow Health Victoria's colourful poster and postcard resources laid out all on top of each other on a table

Research and Policy

In 2020, Rainbow Health Victoria has continued to drive reform and innovation in LGBTIQ health and social policy at both the state and federal level, working closely with organisations such as Thorne Harbour Health, Switchboard, AFAO, the National LGBTI Health Alliance and Mental Health Victoria. Key achievements include submissions to the Commonwealth Senate Inquiry into Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence, the Select Committee on COVID-19 to inquire into the Australian Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and to the process for the development of the Victorian Government’s first LGBTIQ whole-of-government strategy. 
Rainbow Health Victoria has also played a lead role in advising government on the findings of Private Lives 3, as well LGBTIQ inclusion in service delivery, mental health, religious freedoms, family violence, sexual assault and women’s health.
Moving forward, we are excited for the launch of Writing Themselves In 4 in February and opportunities for further analysis and translation of both major studies into policy, programs and practice. 
An image of the front cover of the report Pride In Prevention.It is a cartoon drawing of rainbow coloured people dancing on a hill under a tree while a yellow bus drives past them.

LGBTIQ Family Violence Prevention Project 

In 2020, Rainbow Health Victoria broke new ground in the field of the primary prevention of family violence affecting LGBTIQ people. This innovative project focuses on the primary prevention of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ communities, seeking to address critical evidence gaps, strengthen understanding of the drivers of violence, and build expertise for both LGBTIQ organisations and family violence primary prevention organisations to design and deliver primary prevention activities.
In July we were excited to launch Pride in Prevention, a guide to the primary prevention of family violence affecting LGBTIQ communities. This ground-breaking new resource summarises the current available evidence on the drivers of family violence experienced by LGBTIQ communities and provides recommendations for priority interventions to address it.
The guide underpins the work of several pilot project that have been co-developed in partnership with key LGBTIQ specialist and mainstream primary prevention organisations to be delivered in 2021. The response to the launch has been profound, and the prevention team has been invited to speak to a range of audiences.
A screenshot of 5 colourful people presenting at a Rainbow Network Zoom Webinar event

Rainbow Network

This year Rainbow Network played a vital role helping those working with LGBTIQA+ young people to develop their practice and to connect with peers.

This included a calendar of interesting and informative professional learning opportunities including five events attended by professionals working in the sector and coming from LGBTQIA+ organisations as well as mainstream organisations.
Topics covered QTIPOC experiences, intersectional advocacy, trans and gender diverse youth inclusive practice, and issues specific to asexuality. 

Rainbow Network continues to share newsletters, resources, opportunities, research and current good practice through our social media and website as well as providing secondary consultation and referrals to individual and organisations.
We have been pleased to welcome psychologist Josh Muller as facilitator for our Community of Practice groups this year, which were held increased frequency to keep our networks connected and supported.

The HEY Grant program celebrated its 10 year anniversary this year, with Rainbow Network being an active member of the HEY partnership and co-convener of the HEY Strategic Advisory Group. HEY partners held fortnightly meetings online all through the lockdown to keep connected.
Val's staff members Pauline and Ivy standing close together with happy facial expressions. Both are wearing Val's t-shirts behind a banner that says Val's LGBTI Ageing & Aged Care

Val’s LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care 

2020 has been a big year for Val’s. The ageing and aged care sector experienced tremendous upheaval as a result of COVID-19, particularly in Victoria. Throughout this, Val’s has continued to support LGBTI inclusion in ageing and aged care services. This included shifting its LGBTI ageing and aged care training online, continuing to deliver a monthly newsletter, co-hosting two regional CHSP forums, supporting consultation for the Commonwealth Aged Care Royal Commission, and hosting a four-session online forum for providers to enhance LGBTI-inclusive care and support. Val’s participated in a wide range of events and conferences.
Val’s recently released a LGBTI-inclusive practice review tool for services supporting or caring for older people - the Val's Review Tool. This tool aims to support ageing and aged care services to become culturally-safe and inclusive for older LGBTI people. Organisations can use it to review current LGBTI-inclusive practice, and identify gaps and areas for improvement and action. It can also assist with diversity requirements for Aged Care Quality Standards (ACQS) review processes as the tool interprets and linkseach Rainbow Tick indicator with the related ACQS.
We have produced two full versions - a low-colour printer friendly version, and the full colour version - both can be downloaded here:
A rainbow love heart over a pink background.

LGBTIQ Intimate Partner and Family Violence

Our LGBTIQ Intimate Partner and Family Violence team successfully completed the first two year phase of the LGBTIQ Family Violence Sector Capacity Building Project, and was awarded a further two year’s funding.

The HOW2 inclusive practice training was adapted for online delivery and has now been delivered to all family violence services in Victoria. 
A customised HOW2 for Aboriginal Community controlled Health Organisations delivered in partnership with Peter Waples-Crowe at Thorne Harbour Health was completed earlier this year.

Through the LGBTIQ Inclusive Refuge Project, Rainbow Health Victoria provided mentoring to two refuges wishing to provide support to LGBTIQ victim/survivors of any gender. One of the refuges has now become the first family violence refuge in Victoria to officially welcome GBTQ men who need to flee and hide from family violence – a huge achievement. 
The Queer Family Violence Network changed its name and branding this year, growing to over 700 members and welcoming over 100 attendees to recent meetings. Shifting to online delivery has attracted members from all over the country, meaning that this important work can now be shared across borders
Rainbow Health Victoria staff member Matthew Parsons sitting at their computer about to conduct training online.

Training and accreditation

Early in 2020 Rainbow Health Victoria successfully transitioned our delivery options to remote and online delivery formats in response to COVID-19. This included a new three hour interactive webinar ‘Putting LGBTIQ Inclusion into Practice’ to be combined with the existing online course ‘Introduction to LGBTIQ Inclusive Practice’ as part of a flexible learning package better suited to the changing learning needs of workers this year. We have also begun to review and update the content of the online introductory course to prepare for relaunch in line with the release of Private Lives 3 and Writing Themselves in 4.
Rainbow Health Victoria has continued to partner with QIP to support organisations pursuing Rainbow Tick accreditation. 27 organisations were accredited in 2020, with a record-breaking number of organisations either registering or enquiring about Rainbow Tick as well.

The upcoming Rainbow Tick Guide provides up-to-date guidance for best practice LGBTIQ inclusion and cultural safety. The guide uses the Standards as a set of key organising principles for any organisation in developing a plan for improving LGBTIQ inclusion, while also supporting organisations on their journey to formal accreditation.
In 2020 Rainbow Health Victoria commenced the Rainbow Tick Community of Practice to support and connect those working to develop LGBTIQ safe and welcoming services. The group offers an opportunity to ask questions, share challenges and develop good practice. The Community of Practice uses the Rainbow Tick standards as a useful framework to guide best practice, and is open to people from any organisation, at any point in their journey towards LGBTIQ inclusion.

Fact Sheet: LGBTQ+ Change and Suppression Practices

This fact sheet from the Victorian Government was recently prepared with input from the Brave Network and other survivors of conversion practices. It also provides information for where to find help and support. 
Access the fact sheet from

A new video resource: QueerAbility

A white, queer disabled person talking to the camera sitting on their wheelchair
We recommend watching ACON’s new video resource QueerAbility. Sharing the personal experiences of LGBTQ+ community members who are living with disabilities, aimed at supporting and empowering LGBTQ+ people to access the NDIS.
Watch the first of many QueerAbility videos on YouTube
Update your preferences with us! We have recently updated how we manage our newsletter lists. Let us know if you would also like more updates about the Rainbow Tick, our training programs, or projects such as Rainbow Network or Val’s LGBTI Ageing and Aged Care.
Copyright © 2020 Rainbow Health Victoria, ARCSHS, La Trobe University, All rights reserved.

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