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LGBTIQ+ communities

Information about mental health support, financial support services, legal support services and help for people experiencing family or domestic violence.

Circuit breaker restrictions

From 11:59pm on Thursday 27 May 2021, COVIDSafe restrictions across Victoria have changed. New changes have been introduced to slow the spread of COVID-19 by reducing the number of people leaving their homes and moving around Victoria.

This means that you cannot leave your home unless you are doing so for one of the five following reasons:

  • shopping for necessary goods and services

  • care and caregiving, including medical care or to get a COVID-19 test

  • exercise

  • authorised work and permitted study

  • to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

Victorians may also leave home to visit their intimate partner, their single social bubble buddy, or in an emergency – including those at risk of family violence.

Find out more about the current COVIDSafe Settings.

Find out more about COVID-19 vaccines.

Staying safe

It is important that we act every day to keep ourselves and others safe. These actions below can help protect you from coronavirus (COVID-19).

Stay safe by washing your hands regularly, coughing and sneezing into your elbow, and keeping at least 1.5 metres from others.

Keep your friends and family safe by meeting outdoors. There is a lower risk of spreading coronavirus (COVID-19) between people if you are outdoors.

Wearing a face mask protects you and your community by providing an additional physical barrier to coronavirus (COVID-19).

Everyone must wear a face mask when required unless a lawful exception applies.

For more information visit face masks.

If you have any symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), get tested and stay home. Stay at home if you feel unwell.

Your mental health is important

It is important to maintain your health and wellbeing by keeping active and taking care of your mental health. Feelings of increased anxiety, stress or loneliness are normal during this time and it’s important that you reach out to others or seek help through the services below if you are not feeling yourself.

Mental health support, including support for LGBTIQ+ Victorians, is available and includes:

  • Rainbow Door is a free helpline run by Switchboard Victoria which supports LGBTIQ+ Victorians, their friends and family during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and beyond. The service can provide LGBTIQ+ specialist, multidisciplinary support for family violence, mental health and relationship issues. Rainbow Door operates 7 days a week between 10am - 6pm and is available by calling 1800 729 367, texting 0480 017 246 or emailing support@rainbowdoor.com.au.
  • QLife provides anonymous and free LGBTIQ+ peer support and referral for people wanting to talk about sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships. You can chat to a peer LGBTIQ+ phone worker by calling 1800 184 527 between 3pm and midnight every day of the week. You can also chat with someone online during the same times at qlife.org.au.
  • Queerspace provides low or no cost confidential counselling services to support LGBTIQ+ communities and their families. Phone: (03) 9663 6733 or email enquiries@ds.org.au to see how they can support you.
  • Thorne Harbour Health provides professional, affordable counselling for members of LGBTIQ+ communities and individuals or couples who are affected by or at risk of HIV.
  • Australian Government is providing access to an extra 10 Medicare-subsidised psychological therapy sessions. Speak with your GP about how to start or update your mental health care plan.
  • Victorian Pride Centre’s website features a list of services and support groups.

There are also services available which are inclusive of LGBTIQ+ people, including:

  • VincentCare welcomes people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, intersex, queer and gender diverse.
  • Beyond Blue provides a Coronavirus Mental Wellbeing Support Service. Phone: 1800 512 348.
  • Lifeline is a crisis support service offering short term support at any time for people who are having difficulty coping or staying safe. Phone: 13 11 14.

There are several medical services for trans and gender diverse communities, including counselling and mental health services.

The following LGBTIQ+-inclusive support services are available for young people.

  • Eheadspace offers online and webchat support and counselling for 12 to 25-year-olds, their family and friends. Phone: 1800 650 890.
  • Kids Helpline offers private and confidential phone and online counselling services for young people aged five to 25. Phone: 1800 551 800.

Drug and alcohol support

If you or someone you know would like support with drug and alcohol use, there are LGBTIQ+ specialists who can help.

Thorne Harbour Health has experienced counsellors who you can speak with to discuss your concerns and goals around your alcohol or drug use. They also run a series of free therapeutic alcohol and other drug group throughout the year.

There are also services available which are inclusive of LGBTIQ+ people, including:

Family violence support

With people staying at home more than usual to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19), there may be an increased risk for LGBTIQ+ Victorians facing violence in the home.

For immediate support:
Call Triple Zero (000).

For emergency support after hours:
When it is safe to do so, contact or have someone who can call:

Victims of Crime
Information and support for any victims of relationship violence and victims of violent crime.

Safe Steps
Family violence response helpline for Victorians experiencing family violence, including crisis support, information and accommodation.

For LGBTIQ+ Victorians experiencing family violence who are not in immediate danger, there is specialised support available, including: 

Rainbow Door
Rainbow Door is a free specialist LGBTIQ+ helpline that supports people in Victoria of all ages and identities with issues that may include family and intimate partner violence (including elder abuse), sexual assault and relationship issues. You do not need a referral to use this service.

QLife
QLife is a national peer-to-peer free counselling service for the LGBTIQ+ community. You can talk to QLife about relationships and if you are experiencing domestic and family violence or abuse. This service is run by Switchboard Victoria.

Thorne Harbour Health

Thorne Harbour Health provides counselling services to LGBTIQ+ communities and Family Violence Flexible Support Packages for those who are considering leaving or have recently left a relationship. Referrals can also be made via flexi-packages@thorneharbour.org.

There are also sexual assault services which are inclusive of LGBTIQ+ people, including:

Interacting with police

Protecting Victorians remains a top priority for government during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Family violence frontline services, including crisis accommodation, police and courts continue to operate to support women, children and families during the coronavirus emergency. Victoria Police continue to address and prevent family violence as a priority. The police response remains unchanged, identifying risks and taking the appropriate action to hold perpetrators to account and keep victims safe.

Be assured that you have the right to feel safe, access medical support and maintain contact with friends and family.

LGBTIQ+ liaison officers

Victoria Police has appointed LGBTIQ+ liaison officers (previously called Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officers - GLLOs) across the state, to help foster mutual trust between police and rainbow communities. LGBTIQ+ liaison officers are a contact point for LGBTIQ+ community members and can provide advice, assistance and recommendations to Victoria Police on the policing needs of LGBTIQ+ people.

Find a Victoria Police LGBTIQ+ liaison officer and their contact details at LGBTIQ liaison officers.

LGBTIQ+ Victorians can get support with legal issues during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The LGBTIQ+ Legal Service provides free help for LGBTIQ+ people with everyday legal problems including discrimination, family violence, criminal law, change of name issues and more. They can respond to your request within five business days.

For immediate free legal support, you can phone Victoria Legal Aid on 1300 792 387 between 8am and 6pm on weekdays. A webchat option is also available during this timeframe at their website.

Fitzroy Legal Service also run an LGBTIQ+ family law legal advice clinic on the first Wednesday of each month. An appointment is required.

People aged under 25 can also access free legal support from Youthlaw, by calling (03) 9113 9500 or emailing legal@youthlaw.asn.au between 9am and 5pm on weekdays. They usually call back or reply within two days but may take up to five days.

Financial support

If you are experiencing financial challenges and facing hardship due to coronavirus (COVID-19), you can access payments and other supports available.

To learn about the government financial support available, visit: Victorian Government information on financial support for coronavirus (COVID-19)

This support includes emergency relief packages for people currently residing in Victoria who need to quarantine or isolate due to coronavirus (COVID-19) and don’t have enough to food to feed themselves or their families.

Drummond Street Services can also provide support to people experiencing food insecurity through their FOODS program. To enquire about this support, phone (03) 9663 6733.

Financial help for international students, asylum seekers, refugees and other temporary visa holders.

The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (03 9326 6066) and the Australian Red Cross may be able to provide basic needs and assistance to asylum seekers, refugees and other temporary visa holders experiencing extreme hardship.

Anyone who is legally allowed to work in Australia is also eligible to participate in the Working for Victoria initiative, which helps jobseekers find work and access online training, and helps employers quickly find workers with the skills and experience they need.

Black Rainbow provide pre-paid phone and data credit to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQ+ people who may be homeless, leaving a domestic violence relationship or in the justice system.

Testing locations with a Rainbow Tick

The coronavirus (COVID-19) test is free for everyone in Victoria. This includes people without a Medicare card, such as visitors from overseas, migrant workers and asylum seekers. It is important to get tested if you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19), no matter how mild.

The Rainbow Tick is a national accreditation program for organisations that are committed to safe and inclusive practice and service delivery for LGBTIQ+ people. Having Rainbow Tick accreditation helps an organisation let its LGBTIQ+ clients, staff and communities know that they will receive inclusive services as soon as they walk in the door.

The program is owned and developed by Rainbow Health Victoria.

Some LGBTIQ+ Victorians seeking to be tested for coronavirus may feel more comfortable receiving this support from an organisation with a Rainbow Tick accreditation. In Victoria, this includes:

Cohealth is also committed to providing inclusive, accessible and responsive health and community services that respect all people regardless of gender, sexuality, or intersex status and has a range of testing sites.

Your normal GP can also offer coronavirus (COVID-19) testing.

Medical care

If I am trans or gender diverse, how can I access hormones at this time?

Some health services may be limited at this time, so it is best to check in with your regular doctor. Thorne Harbour Health has more information for Trans, Gender Diverse, Non-Binary Communities.

What impact will coronavirus (COVID-19) have on me if I am HIV positive?

While every Victorian is at risk of becoming infected with the coronavirus (COVID-19), underlying illnesses make people more likely to become very sick with the condition. These conditions include people with low or suppressed immune systems, such as those living with HIV. It's important to note that being undetectable does not mean that your immune system is not impaired.

LGBTIQ+ Victorians with pre-existing health conditions such as HIV are encouraged to monitor them and seek healthcare if required, as they usually would. People should also keep important scheduled medical appointments and take medications that their doctor has prescribed.

For peer-based information and support, please visit Living Positively Victoria.

Thorne Harbour Health has also provided insight on this topic on their page of coronavirus (COVID-19) information for people living with HIV.

For people who are contemplating changing their use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) due to the pandemic, you can get more information from Thorne Harbour Health.

International students, temporary visitors, asylum seekers and refugees

What support is available if I am an LGBTIQ+ international student?

The Drum Youth Services has programs that can help LGBTIQ+ international students learn English or connect with others in their situation, as they deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Victoria:

  • Queer International English Classes – The Drum runs a monthly English practice workshops for LGBTIQ+ international students at a university, college or vocational institution in Melbourne.
  • (In)visible connects young queer and trans people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds through community workshops and events.

Reviewed 04 June 2021

Coronavirus Victoria

24/7 Coronavirus Hotline

If you suspect you may have COVID-19 call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days.

Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.

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