Ali Khan (LLB (Hons) ’04, GDLP ’10), an alumnus from The Australian National University (ANU) College of Law, has been awarded a 2019 Churchill Fellowship and will head overseas later this year to undertake research on supporting gay male survivors of domestic violence.
Established in 1965, the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust helps Australians to travel overseas to conduct research in their chosen field that is not readily available in Australia.
Ali said his ANU Law studies had provided him with a core set of skills that have placed him in good stead in his work and personal life.
“The research, analytical and practical skills you gain during your time at ANU Law should never be underestimated,” he said.
“There’s no other place where you can learn from some of Australia’s best legal minds and stretch your thinking.”
Ali said his time at law school also taught him to become more resilient.
“If you survived a lecture in the Coombs theatre on those seats, you’ve already demonstrated great resilience,” he joked.
Ali will travel to the UK, US, Canada and New Zealand to learn about overseas approaches to assist gay male survivors of domestic violence in their recovery process.
He chose this topic due to lived experience, hearing the stories from other Australian LGBTI+ survivors, and to challenge the current thinking that domestic violence only occurs when heterosexual men abuse heterosexual women.
“It is tragedy that on average one woman loses her life each week to domestic violence in Australia,” Ali said.
“Not only is there urgent attention needed to address this horrifying situation, we need to start broadening the definition of domestic violence to be inclusive of LGBTI+ people, heterosexual men, the elderly, and those children who abuse their parents, carers or other family members.”
Ali is hopeful upon his return, his Churchill Fellowship research will spark new conversations on how to address the needs of gay male domestic violence survivors and “get us all thinking about domestic violence generally”.
“When I graduated in 2004, I was honoured to have former High Court Justice, the Hon Michael Kirby AC, CMG, speak at my ceremony. His words are still with me today. He said we must all live a life with ‘love’ and ‘compassion’. If we do so, we will not only have meaningful lives but contribute greatly to the Australian community.
“Being awarded a Churchill Fellowship has a been a result of my ANU education and closely following the wise words of the Hon Michael Kirby,” he added.
Ali encourages other ANU alumni and students to apply for a Churchill Fellowship.
“If you have a passion to serve the Australian community and get things moving, you could be the next Churchill Fellow,” he said.
Further information about Churchill Fellowships is available from the Winston Churchill Trust website.
LGBTI+ domestic violence support services
- ACON: Free information on health issues affecting LGBTI+ people, including family and domestic violence.
- Another Closet: Online resources and referral details on LGBTI+ domestic and family violence. Includes information for supporting a friend or family member. Call: 1800 656 463.
- National Police Assitance Line: Some police stations have an LGBTI+ liaison officer (known as GLLO/gay and lesbian liaison officer). Call: 131 444.
- Safe Relationships Project: Support, advocacy, referral and legal information for men and women experiencing domestic violence in same-sex relationships. Call: 1800 244 481.