The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission welcomes Australia’s ratification today of the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT).

The Protocol aims to prevent torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment within all closed environments in Australia. Closed environments include prisons, youth justice facilities, secure mental health and disability facilities, and places of temporary detention, such as police cells and prisoner transport vehicles.

Under the Protocol, Australia has committed to set up a system of independent scrutiny of all closed environments, and agreed to allow the United Nations to inspect places of detention.

Victoria’s Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton said: “We welcome the ratification of OPCAT and will support its implementation in Victoria.  

Regular independent inspections will scrutinise places where people are deprived of their liberty and can prevent human rights abuses from occurring.”

Commissioner Hilton said community members, such as Aboriginal people, children and young people, and those with disabilities or mental illness are often most at risk in closed environments.

The Commission has identified a number of practices that can pose problems in closed environments, including the use of force, restraint and seclusion.

Commissioner Hilton said the Commission has been participating in consultations led by the Australian Human Rights Commission about the effective implementation of OPCAT and what changes will be required in Victoria.

“We know that implementing OPCAT is a major undertaking, and will require legislative and operational changes as well as resourcing,” Commissioner Hilton said.

“Victoria already has a Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities and number of monitoring bodies. However, OPCAT will require a more rigorous regime for inspecting places of detention.”

The Commission has responsibilities under the Charter to monitor its operation in Victoria; to review the programs and practices of public authorities to determine their compatibility with human rights; and to provide education about human rights and about the Charter.

Media contact:Kat O’Shea: 0459 114 657 / kat.o’This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission today welcomed the Supreme Court ruling that will allow the release of the Independent Equity and Diversity Review of Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB).

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has exposed Australia’s catastrophic failure to protect children from sexual abuse in institutions, and demands major changes in the way we respond to and prevent future harm, says Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton.

With the festive season upon us, employers are encouraged to remind staff that Christmas parties are work functions and sexual harassment is against the law and not acceptable. 

Friday, 08 December 2017 10:25

Equality triumphs in Human Rights Week

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission ends Human Rights Week with a celebration of the legislation of same-sex marriage in Australia.

Wednesday, 29 November 2017 12:41

Information on sexual harassment

Contact the Commission on 1300 292 153 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  if you would like information on how the law protects you from sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual behaviour, which could be expected to make a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated. Sexual harassment can be physical, verbal or written. Find out more.

Download the Guideline: Sexual Harassment > complying with the Equal Opportunity Act

State and Territory members of the Australian Council of Human Rights Authorities (ACHRA) call on the Australian Government to ensure that the human rights of the men on Manus Island are protected.

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights welcomes today’s affirmation that the Australian public stands behind LGBTI communities and has overwhelmingly shown its support for same-sex marriage by voting yes in the postal survey.

Thursday, 02 November 2017 15:49

2016 Charter Report tabled in Parliament

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s 2016 Report on the operation of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities was tabled in Parliament today. As the independent monitor of the charter, the Commission is required to assess how it operates in practice, including its interaction with other statutory provisions and the common law.

Wednesday, 01 November 2017 15:31

Commission releases 2016–17 Annual report

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission today released its 2016–17 Annual report. The report details the Commission’s work over the past financial year towards its vision for a fair, safe and inclusive Victoria where everyone is respected and treated with dignity. 

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