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Understanding intersectionality

Definition of intersectionality and how it can lead to overlapping of discrimination and marginalisation.

‘Intersectionality’ refers to the ways in which different aspects of a person’s identity can expose them to overlapping forms of discrimination and marginalisation.

Aspects of a person's identity can include social characteristics such as:

  • Aboriginality
  • gender
  • sex
  • sexual orientation
  • gender identity
  • ethnicity
  • colour
  • nationality
  • refugee or asylum seeker background
  • migration or visa status
  • language
  • religion
  • ability
  • age
  • mental health
  • socioeconomic status
  • housing status
  • geographic location
  • medical record
  • criminal record

Attitudes, systems and structures in society and organisations can interact to create inequality and result in exclusion. These include:

  • sexism
  • racism
  • homophobia
  • biphobia
  • transphobia
  • intersex discrimination
  • ableism
  • ageism
  • stigma

When these aspects or characteristics combine:

  • there is a greater risk of people experiencing family violence 
  • people find it harder to get the help they need due to systemic barriers
  • there is increased risk of social isolation

Family Safety Victoria created the Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement to build an inclusive, safe, responsive and accountable system for all Victorians.

[Everybody Matters: Inclusion and Equity Statement (online version)]

Reviewed 26 June 2019

Family violence reform

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