The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission ('the Commission') does not handle complaints related to the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006. Instead, the Commission has educative, reporting, reviewing and intervention functions.
If you think your human rights have been breached by a public authority you should try to raise it with the authority first. If the matter cannot be resolved, you may be able to make a complaint to the Victorian Ombudsman. You can contact The Victorian Ombudsman for more information on (03) 9613 6222 or go to ombudsman.vic.gov.au.
The Victorian Ombudsman does not generally handle complaints about police conduct. In situations involving possible police misconduct, you can contact the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission ('IBAC') on 1300 735 135 or go to ibac.vic.gov.au/.
Human rights may also be raised in complaints to other relevant complaint-handling bodies, for example the Disability Services Commissioner, the Health Services Commissioner or the Public Transport Ombudsman.
You can also look at Good practice guide: Managing complaints involving human rights, which was published by the Human Rights Unit of the Department of Justice and Regulation to help public authorities effectively deal with complaints about human rights.
What is the Victorian Ombudsman?
The Ombudsman is an independent officer of the Victorian Parliament, promoting high standards of public administration in Victoria.
What sort of complaints can the Ombudsman investigate?
People can complain about administrative action taken by a public authority. Administrative action may include a decision or action taken by a public authority, refusal to undertake certain activity or make a decision and creation of a proposal or recommendation. The Victorian Ombudsman can investigate whether administrative action breaches a human right set out in the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.
Who can the Ombudsman investigate?
The Ombudsman can investigate certain public authorities. These include:
- Victorian government departments
- a range of public statutory authorities, for example, the Freedom of Information Commissioner, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
- contractors managing prisons and police lock-ups
- authorised officers (for example, ticket inspectors) exercising duties regarding detection of offences, transport safety officers monitoring compliance
- contractors and sub-contractors providing health services
- registered community service providers supporting children, youth and families and authorised people carrying out functions under legislation supporting young people
- schools, TAFEs and universities
- local councils
The Ombudsman cannot investigate:
- Victoria Police
- complaints about corruption, for example, corruption by police members or freedom of information. Complaints about freedom of information are investigated by the Freedom of Information Commissioner (1300 842 364 or go to foicommissioner.vic.gov.au/). IBAC investigates complaints about corruption or police misconduct.
- courts, judges or magistrates, the Auditor-General, legal advisors to the government
- boards, commissions or tribunals presided over by a lawyer, eg the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
The Ombudsman can also refer people to a number of other bodies including IBAC, or the Privacy Commissioner, among other bodies listed in the Schedule to the Ombudsman Act 1973.
Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission ('IBAC')
What is IBAC?
IBAC is an anti-corruption body responsible for identifying and preventing corrupt conduct in the public sector, including members of Parliament, the judiciary and state and local government.
What sort of matters can IBAC investigate?
- corrupt conduct by public authorities
- police personnel misconduct, this can include breaches of human rights
Corrupt conduct happens when a public authority's behaviour negatively affects the honest performance of its functions, is dishonest, a public officer or body knowingly or recklessly breaches public trust or misuses information or material acquired in the performance of their functions.
Police personnel misconduct includes behaviour by a member of the police force that may amount to an offence punishable by imprisonment; or behaviour likely to bring the police force into disrepute or diminish public confidence.
IBAC has a statutory function to ensure that members of the police force have regard to the human rights set out in the Charter concerning misconduct by police personnel. IBAC has indicated that it also considers identifying and monitoring human rights impacts arising from corrupt conduct as part of its statutory functions.