Ben Bjarnesen is a passionate educator, campaigner and speaker who believes that all people no matter what their sexuality or gender identity is, deserve the right to live a life free from domestic violence and abuse (DV). Ben became a fierce advocate for improved services for LGBTQ victims and survivors of DV after discovering an incredible gap in services after himself experiencing abuse within a same-sex relationship.
Ben is a Churchill Fellow who travelled to the USA, Canada, UK and the Netherlands where he explored best practice solutions for Police Departments to enhance the way in which they respond to domestic violence in LGBTQ communities, revealing the critical need to have LGBTQ inclusive and accessible support services. He has since been actively involved in advising government and non-government organisations internationally on a range of initiatives designed to improve service delivery to LGBTQ communities.
Ben is an operational Police officer and volunteers as the Regional Coordinator of the Queensland Police Service LGBTI Liaison Officer Program and has previously been named as one of the top 50 most influential and inspiring LGBTI Australians by Cosmopolitan Magazine for his work in this area.
In 2020 he founded the LGBTQ Domestic Violence Awareness Foundation and he is also on the Board of Directors for DVConnect Ltd. In 2023 he was appointed to the Queensland Government Domestic & Family Violence Prevention Council by Premier Annannastacia Palaszczuk.
Ben is an awarded educator and campaigner and in 2020 he had the honour of being inducted into the Queensland Government Domestic & Family Violence Prevention Honour Roll. He was also named as a ‘Human Rights Hero’ by the Australian Human Rights Commission and as one of Australia’s Outstanding 50 LGBTI+ Leaders by Deloitte & Google.
Most recently he was awarded the International Association for Chiefs of Police ’40 under 40’ Award for his commitment and leadership in improving relationships between the police and LGBTIQ communities.
Ben strives to educate others about the complexities of domestic violence in LGBTQ communities and also the potential barriers LGBTQ people may face when accessing police and support services as both victims and perpetrators.
Ben has delivered a number of key note speeches and conducted training sessions about domestic violence in LGBTQ communities both nationally and internationally and is recognised as a leader in this field.
“The knowledge you brought as a panellist was greatly valued, and your contribution to the panel discussion insightful. Your understanding of the LGBTIQ community, and the unique challenges faced in this space encouraged essential conversations. It was particularly great to reinforce through the 2020 Event, that everyone has a role to play in ending domestic and family violence.”
Annastacia Palaszczuk MP
Premier of Queensland
Your pursuit of awareness, remembrance, recognition and support is a living expression of our Australia values – and I thank you.
The Honourable Scott Morrison MP
Former Prime Minister of Australia
Ben is an extremely passionate advocate for the LGBTQ+ community and has demonstrated consistently over the years that he is also forward thinking in his approaches toward inclusion and cultural change. He uses story telling to create that change and supports his words with authentic care for his community. Highly recommended if you want someone who will not only talk the talk, but walk it as well!
Superintendent David Tucker
Commander, Queensland Police Service
Ben presented at the second Brisbane Interfirm event dealing with the sensitive issue of domestic violence in LGBTI relationships. Ben was a very engaging speaker on a difficult topic and was able to cover the topic from a variety of different perspectives. The feedback from attendees was very positive. In arranging the event Ben was an absolute pleasure to deal with.
Partner – Ashurst
Ben is highly motivated and courageous in speaking up and leading to show respect for people of diverse and marginalised backgrounds. He is open minded, inclusive and pragmatic in his approach to community development and seeks to understand others rather than treat them with prejudice. He is not shy to tackle difficult social issues and stand up for a safer, respectful community. I am inspired by his devotion and commitment to helping others. I believe he has a lot to offer in effecting positive change.
Dr Wendell J. Rosevear OAM
Domestic & Family Violence Prevention Council
I met Ben through our mutual commitment to helping end domestic and family violence. From the get-go, Ben impressed me with his passion, knowledge and communication skills about a hugely complex and confronting issue. Often on the front-line of this challenge, Ben has a personal story and insights that bring huge value to the Queensland Police Service and the wider community. He's steady, thoughtful, kind and brave. A great media 'talent' his energy also impresses and I believe Ben's making a significant difference in many lives, particularly within the LGBTQI+ community who are so often overlooked. I regard Ben very highly.
Kay McGrath OAM
Co-Chair Domestic and Family Violence Prevention Council.
Journalist/Presenter Seven Network.
The session Ben delivered for QBE was both insightful and personal. Family and Domestic Violence is a challenging subject, however Ben ensures the content is relatable without being overwhelming. He also shows great courage in sharing his personal experiences which further humanises the issue, in addition to reinforcing it can happen to anyone. More importantly, he helps people understand what they can do to help as well as how they can reach out. I have heard Ben speak a number of times at conferences, panel discussions and at presentations and have always found him engaging, informative yet empathetic. His insight and his passion to make a difference in this space is highly valuable.
Ben spoke at Suncorp on domestic and family violence issues relating to the LGBTIQ+ community. His presentation was inspiring, informative and very relevant to the wellbeing of our people at Suncorp. I highly recommend Ben as a keynote speaker and look forward to having him back at Suncorp in future!
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