New LGBTIQ domestic violence campaign designed by Canberrans, for Canberrans
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New LGBTIQ domestic violence campaign designed by Canberrans, for Canberrans

If you thought you spotted former ACT Greens candidate Veronica Wensing on a cafe poster for domestic violence recently, you were right.

Ms Wensing and her partner Krishna Sadhana joined a cast of high-profile gay and lesbian couples at a photo shoot recently, posing for a domestic violence awareness campaign aimed specifically at the LGBTIQ community.

Veronica Wensing and her partner Krishna Sadhana.

Veronica Wensing and her partner Krishna Sadhana.

Photo: Rohan Thomson

With the tagline 'Same love, same rules', the campaign aims to raise awareness of domestic and family violence within LGBTIQ communities, and is an initiative of the Women's Centre for Health Matters.

The centre's chief executive. Marcia Williams, said an "authentic" public awareness campaign was one of the key recommendations from the centre's recent report Transforming domestic violence support in the ACT: Improving accessibility for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ) clients.

Veronica and Krishna in the new 'Same love, same rules' campaign for domestic violence.

Veronica and Krishna in the new 'Same love, same rules' campaign for domestic violence.

Photo: Lightbulb Studio
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Veronica Wensing said she was happy to spend a day in front of the camera because she felt a personal connection to the campaign.

"We became involved because we're quite well-known in the lesbian community," she said.

"We helped the Women's Centre for Health Matters identify other couples for the shoot ... and provided advice along the way. The overwhelming feedback from the consultation was that people wanted people they knew in the posters.

"Krish and I have been together for 20 years, and a lot of people look up to us because we've raised four kids, and we have a stable relationship.

Canberra couple Justine Browne and Shakira also feature in the domestic violence awareness campaign.

Canberra couple Justine Browne and Shakira also feature in the domestic violence awareness campaign.

Photo: Lightbulb Studio

"I've been a long-term advocate against domestic and family violence - so I have interest there as well."

Marcia Williams from the Women's Centre for Health Matters said focus group participants were frustrated by domestic violence ads featuring beautiful models with a "horrible bruise".

"It's really about trying to send a positive message - we drew on the wording from the same-sex marriage campaign to say it's no different to any other relationship this could happen in."

Ms Williams said while there were some common forms of domestic abuse in both heterosexual and LGBTIQ relationships - including physical and coercive abuse - LGBTIQ couples had unique challenges. This included the threat of being 'outed'.

"There's the threat of letting their parents and friends or workplace know," she said.

The centre partnered with local creative agency Paper Monkey to develop the campaign. Canberrans can expect to see 'Same love, same rules' posters, cards and press ads.

"If we can get conversations going on in the media and online, and see the sharing of the images themselves, then we will have succeeded," Ms Williams said.

For more information on the campaign, and domestic and family violence support services, visit http://www.helpstopdv.org.au/

Bree Winchester is the life and entertainment editor at The Canberra Times