Improving LGBTIQA+ data collection to build evidence will enable us to get a better picture of how LGBTIQA+ Victorians experience all parts of their lives. By building this picture we can better identify needs, understand how services are performing and know where we need more investment to support LGBTIQA+ people.
The Victorian Government and the service-delivery organisations it funds collect data to understand community need. By improving LGBTIQA+ data collection, we will better understand who is using our services and where there are gaps. Better data will also help LGBTIQA+ communities improve LGBTIQA+ led services and inform decision making on community priorities.
Driving visibility and accountability with inclusive data
We can achieve greater visibility of LGBTIQA+ communities and their needs through improving how we collect and distribute data that is broken down into separate components. This data needs to have demographic information, health and wellbeing needs, service access and outcome information. It should also capture data on key communities such as people with intersex variations for whom there is a lack of information on treatment and care in Victoria.
'If we don't have data, we don't exist'.
Workshop participant, mental health services consultation
Collecting data is only useful if we understand how to analyse and use it to improve outcomes. Being transparent with data will ensure we hold government and funded programs and services to account and can show they are meeting the needs of all Victorians.
Data collection must also include suitable and inclusive options that reflect how LGBTIQA+ people choose to identify. It must help pinpoint LGBTIQA+ needs that can feed into better practice, services and research. Datasets also need to be accessible, useful and link to each other to ensure effectiveness.
Connecting with priority area 2, it is important that staff are trained, comfortable and capable to ask the right questions in the safest way. This includes communicating how data will be used to inform and improve services, and ensuring data is always stored securely while maintaining confidentiality.
The work already underway
Changing the way we collect, analyse and report on LGBTIQA+ data is a complex yet important piece of the puzzle in ensuring LGBTIQA+ visibility. We recognise that systems, processes and standards across the Victorian Government differ and that we need significant reform work to bring them up to standard.
We are starting to improve LGBTIQA+ data in our systems. The recently launched Prevention of Family Violence Data Platform is an example. This platform draws together data from various LGBTIQA+ surveys to help focus on LGBTIQA+ family violence and its causes.
The Department of Health’s standards include the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics’ data standards on gender, sexuality and sex characteristics. Adopting best practice standards between systems will help build consistency and, in turn, a better picture of LGBTIQA+ people.
Recognising the important role data can have in improving services, Victoria will continue to drive consistent and improved LGBTIQA+ data. Our example will lead the way for other states, territories and organisations to keep improving their own systems.
We will help improve LGBTIQA+ data standards and capability in Victoria. This will in turn help improve the experience of LGBTIQA+ Victorians using non-Victorian Government services.
We will continue to build the evidence base for designing better targeted and inclusive programs. For example, a research-based framework for designing tailored LGBTIQA+ homelessness services informs the LGBTIQA+ Homelessness Program. This leads to better targeting of services and better outcomes for vulnerable service users.
Making data collection inclusive
Inclusive communication when collecting and reporting data is vital to LGBTIQA+ people feeling safe and willing to share their personal information. We will introduce LGBTIQA+ data standards across the Victorian Government and develop guidance materials for collecting, analysing and reporting on data by government and funded services.
Seeking representative input
Government community advisory groups like the LGBTIQA+ Taskforce will continue to play a role in offering first-hand community and service-user advice to improve data. It will also be important to work with other advisory groups to build a better understanding of LGBTIQA+ intersecting experiences. These include the Victorian Youth Congress and newly established Anti-Racism Taskforce.
'…it would be good to have queer Indigenous people controlling the collection and interpretation of data about Aboriginal LGBTIQA+ people. Self-determination is critical for queer Indigenous people'.
Workshop participant, Aboriginal consultation
Early actions we will deliver
- Develop an LGBTIQA+ strategy outcomes framework to measure impact and progress
- Support key LGBTIQA+ data and research to build the evidence base for effective and inclusive services
- Improve Victorian Government data standards and support resources, including for funded services
- Support tools and training for Victorian public service senior leaders to create LGBTIQA+ inclusive workplaces.
Actions we will deliver over the life of the strategy
- Support data collection across government to be inclusive and appropriate
- Increase diverse LGBTIQA+ representation on Victorian Government boards
- Ongoing support for LGBTIQA+ communities’ voice to government, such as the LGBTIQA+ Taskforce and other advisory groups
- Continue the work of the Commissioner for LGBTIQA+ Communities as a crucial role in advocating for improved LGBTIQA+ outcomes across government.
Signs of impact
All LGBTIQA+ communities will have access to data they can use to show clear evidence for need. This will help us know we are having an impact and building LGBTIQA+ visibility to inform decision making.
We will increase LGBTIQA+ voices and experiences across government, and LGBTIQA+ people will feel comfortable engaging with data channels. LGBTIQA+ people will see an increase in policies and services designed with their needs in mind.
We will track and report the number of Victorian Government departments and agencies employing LGBTIQA+ inclusive data collection in government initiatives, programs and services.
Changing attitudes with LGBTIQA+ voices
Family can be an important source of support for all of us – especially for LGBTIQA+ people. Respect Victoria is the state’s independent statutory authority dedicated to stopping family violence before it starts. In 2021, Respect Victoria launched the Pride, Respect, Equality campaign to inspire people to call out violence in all of its forms against LGBTIQA+ people within families.
The campaign aims to support families to ensure their LGBTIQA+ loved ones are safe, respected and supported. Respect Victoria researched extensively and worked closely with community, victim survivors and LGBTIQA+ advocates to develop the campaign.
Statewide advertising showed how discrimination by family members can make LGBTIQA+ people feel, and how a family member’s support and inclusion helps. The campaign also includes a series of videos sharing stories of support. LGBTIQA+ people shared stories of their family’s support and how this has been critical to their own sense of self and wellbeing.
'Campaigns like the Pride, Respect, Equality campaign share the message that LGBTQIA+ people are just people. People who deserve to be loved, cared for and respected just like any other person in the world'.
Zay Canters (they/them), Pride, Respect, Equality participant
There is more to understand about how family violence affects LGBTIQA+ people, including unpacking the gendered drivers that underpin both family violence and sexual violence. Family attitudes also do not exist in isolation and are part of wider discrimination and violence against LGBTIQA+ people. The success of the Pride, Respect, Equality campaign can be built on by placing LGBTIQA+ voices at the heart of campaigns for positive change, and by showcasing positive stories of support and respect.