Friday, 22 February 2019 13:29

Reducing Racism

Reducing Racism is a new project to make it easier for vulnerable communities to report racism and exercise their rights.

Our consultations with African and Muslim communities have shown several recurring themes:

  • Racism is a significant issue.
  • There are barriers preventing people from connecting with us.
  • People don’t know enough about their rights and how to find help.
These issues are also highlighted in our Multicultural and Multifaith Engagement Action Plan and the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Anti-Racism Action Plan

The Reducing Racism project will help us meet the needs of vulnerable communities and make it easier for them to engage with the Commission about racist experiences. Project elements will include:

  • co-designed education programs and new resources
  • community partnerships
  • piloting a new digital reporting tool
  • an information campaign based on storytelling.

We will use data from this project to help us plan ongoing work under our Multicultural and Multifaith Engagement Action Plan.

For more information about the Reducing Racism project contact Rana Ebrahimi, Senior Project Adviser, Ph: (03) 9032 3458.

Report Racism, Australia's first ever third-party reporting mechanism for the Aboriginal community, was launched in 2014 by the Commission in partnership with Victoria Police and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service.

The program is no longer running but you can still Report Racism by making a report online or by calling the Commission on 1300 292 153 or (03) 9032 3583.

If you have any questions about Report Racism, please contact

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission has recently completed research into the experiences of Koori women and the justice system. This project is one of the Commission's key responsibilities under the Aboriginal Justice Agreement 3.

The Commission worked with four focus groups composed of Koori female prisoners at Dame Phyllis Frost Centre. The Commission also conducted five case study interviews with female prisoners and with Koori women who had left prison. In addition, 15 key informant interviews with people across the justice system, community service organisations, Magistrates and academics were undertaken.

The research also found that in 2012, 80 per cent of Koori women entering Victorian prisons were mothers. A high proportion of Koori women prisoners were themselves clients of child protection services as children. Many now have their children in informal or formal out-of-home care.

The report entitled Unfinished business: Koori women and the justice system is now available.

You can download the reports below or view online as a PDF.

Read the report: (PDF) | (DOC)
Read the main findings summary: (PDF) | (DOC)


The recently evaluated Aboriginal Justice Agreement Phase 2 (AJA2), identified that the development of effective diversionary options for Koori women remains one of the main unfinished tasks and was a priority recommendation. There has also been considerable advocacy and research on this issue.

Studies have shown that imprisoning Koori women on remand and during pre-sentence periods can have crippling, long-term effects on their families and the broader community, particularly when less than 15% of Koori women on remand ultimately receive custodial sentences.

These women are generally young and often impacted by violence and trauma. Their offences are predominantly property related, infringements and the execution of warrants.

Research reveals high rates of psychological affective disorders (depression, anxiety), and post traumatic stress disorder among Koori women in prison. These findings come from interim results from the Victorian Aboriginal Community Control Health Organisation (VACCHO)

What we found

While at any one time around 30 Koori women will be in Victorian prisons, many cycle through the system multiple times, often on short sentences, or on remand and then not sentenced. Koori female prisoners are generally young, and many have experienced family violence, sexual abuse and intergenerational trauma. Homelessness before and after prison is common.

Offending and imprisonment patterns for Koori women differ from those of Koori men. They also differ from those of other women, noting that Koori women's health and wellbeing depends on a strong connection to culture. Thus, connection to culture is a crucial protective factor and must lie at the heart of any intervention.
While a range of successful initiatives have been established in Victoria for Koori men and other groups, there remains a lack of effective diversion options for Koori women.

Next steps

The report makes 29 recommendations to agencies across government, including Victoria Police, Magistrates' Court, Corrections Victoria, Justice Health, Department of Justice, Department of Human Services, the Commissioner for Aboriginal Children and Young People and the Victorian Auditor-General.

The recommendations address over-representation of Koori women across the criminal justice system, as well as specific recommendations regarding the establishment of a culturally and gender appropriate model of diversion. The report also identifies principles of effective intervention to guide the further development of prevention, diversion and post-release programs.

The Commission looks forward to progressing these recommendations through the Aboriginal Justice Forum over the coming months.

More information

For more information about this project please contact the project team on 9032 3405 or email

Melbourne has a reputation as a city that welcomes cultural diversity. When patrons of certain racial backgrounds are refused entry into nightclubs, pubs and bars it is offensive and distressing to the individuals concerned. It also damages the reputation of the entertainment and hospitality industries.

Tell us about your experiences

We want to hear about your stories and experiences so if you have had an experience of racism that you would like to share, you can:

Find out more 

Under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, it is against the law for business owners, their staff and agents to discriminate in the provision of goods and services on the basis of characteristics such as race. For more information about the Commission’s research into race discrimination, visit our race discrimination pages.


Thursday, 08 November 2012 14:31

Local Government Human Rights

Charter Report 2012 – local government input

Every year the Commission produces a report on the operation of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities. Charter reports are available to download.

Local Government Human Rights Forums 2012

To help support councils in their important work with human rights, the Commission hosted a series of local government human rights forums in November and December 2012 in Melbourne, Wangaratta, Ararat and Mildura. The forums aimed to develop skills to put human rights into practice in governance and service delivery roles.

The development of the forums was greatly assisted by an Advisory Group with representatives from a range of councils, the Municipal Association of Victoria, and the Victorian Local Governance Association. Information and case studies coming out of the forums will be available in the Local Government section of this website. Please let us know if you have anything to add or would like to see as part of this resource.

Thursday, 26 July 2012 10:54

Fair go, sport!

Research shows sport is a significant site of homophobic harassment, discrimination and exclusion.

The Australian Government report, The future of sport in Australia, identified the need to understand these issues and create new opportunities for inclusion and participation.

With this in mind, the Australian Sports Commission funded Fair go, sport! in 2010.

This project aimed to:

  1. increase awareness of sexual and gender diversity
  2. promote safe and inclusive environments
  3. develop a flexible model of engagement that can be adapted for other sporting codes and their governing bodies.

The project now has four components:

  1. Fair go, sport! Phase 1: Our original work with Hockey Victoria and Hockey Australia, completed in December 2011, developed a peer mentoring approach to support project advocates.
  2. Fair go, sport! Phase 2: Commenced in June 2012, this Phase worked with four additional state sporting associations (Basketball, Cycling, Football and Skate Victoria / Roller Derby) and consolidated the achievements in Hockey
  3. Fair go, sport! Reservoir High School: In 2012 we applied the FGS model and approaches within the school’s sport, health and physical education programs.
  4. Fair go, sport! Schools: Commencing in 2013/14, Whittlesea Secondary College, Castlemaine Secondary College and Keilor Downs College have been implementing the project and developing strategies for inclusion in school sport.
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