The report identifies a critical need for greater investment in human rights education and the development of a stronger human rights culture across government. It also highlights some great examples of human rights leadership, particularly in advancing gender equality.
Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner Kristen Hilton said protecting human rights not only leads to better outcomes for individuals, it strengthens the Victorian community for everyone.
"The importance of having human rights protections is often of particular significance for the most vulnerable in our community and as the report shows, there are a number of troubling human rights concerns in Victoria that need to be addressed," Ms Hilton said.
Many of these are systemic issues that have a significant and ongoing impact on the rights of everyday Victorians, including children and young people, women, people with disabilities, LGBTI Victorians and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians.
The report also considers the important role the Charter plays in Victorian courts and tribunals. In one case the Victorian Court of Appeal overturned a Supreme Court decision to declare that the Office of Police Integrity had failed to properly consider a young African man’s protection from cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment when deciding whether to investigate his complaint.
In another case, the Charter was used to show that a travel insurance agency had discriminated against a woman with mental illness.
In the Victorian Parliament, the Charter influenced positive law reform such as including significant reforms to further protect Aboriginal cultural heritage in Victoria and changes to adoption laws to allow same-sex couples to adopt.
Ms Hilton also recognised the "important contributions of community organisations in shining a light on human right issues".
Download a copy of the 2015 report on the Operation of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities:
- 2015 report on the operation of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities (PDF, 985KB)
- 2015 report on the operation of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities (DOC, 380KB)
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