Kai Noonan coordinates ACON’s work in domestic and family violence (DFV), an area in LGBTI health that needs urgent attention.
“A violent or unhealthy relationship can affect everything: self-esteem, mental health, physical health, drug and alcohol consumption, work performance, financial stress and homelessness – the list goes on,” Kai says. “Everyone deserves to feel safe in their relationships, everyone deserves to be respected by those they love. And yet research tells us that so many of us have been affected by violence in these relationships.”
ACON’s work in supporting members of the LGBTI community dealing with DFV issues has evolved over the years, which includes the launch of new surveys, resources and forums. This work exists not only due to people like Kai, but also because of the financial support of members of the LGBTI community.
“ACON’s Domestic and Family Violence (DFV) project assists LGBTI people who have been abused get support, undertakes research into the perpetration and experiences of DFV and increases awareness amongst LGBTI communities of what constitutes abuse,” Kai says.
“We also work to build the capacity of mainstream service providers to understand the unique needs of LGBTI people affected by DFV so that they can deliver a more inclusive and understanding service.”
No one day is the same for Kai with her role seeing her fulfil a varied range of shoes in support of addressing DFV in LGBTI communities.
“One minute I’ll be editing a government policy or writing up some research and the next making a film; one minute I’ll be training staff at a refuge and the next I’ll be in a room of community members hearing all about their own relationships,” Kai says.
“I love trying to understand people. We humans can be pretty complex: throw in love, lust, jealousy and insecurities and the whole range of emotions that humans experience in relationships and you have a pretty fascinating mix to try to understand.”
While significant progress has been made in terms of LGBTI rights and visibility, gaining a better understanding of our own relationships, and what strengthens the ties that bind, is more important than ever.
“There has been no other time in history, in Australia, where LGBTIQ people have had the freedom to be as open about our identities and our relationships as we are today,” Kai says.
“This place in time is the perfect time to recognise, understand and work on the challenges that are unique to our community and our relationships.”
ACON’s work in improving the health and wellbeing of LGBTI people in NSW would not be possible without financial support from our communities. Many of our programs, including our work in DFV, rely on generous donations from people like you. Any support you can provide will be gratefully accepted, and all donations over $2 are tax deductible. We’re here for the health of our community – you can be too.