Vicsport, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, and Sport and Recreation Victoria have collaborated on two new guides and a video to help sporting clubs and players to stand up against racism and create safer, more inclusive sporting clubs for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and people from multicultural and multifaith backgrounds.
Recent high-profile instances of racism in sport have highlighted this issue, and sporting clubs at all levels are increasingly coming to understand the impact of racism on individual players and the culture within the club.
Under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, it's against the law to treat someone unfavourably in sport because of a personal characteristic, like a person's race or ethnic background.
The new guides Racism is against the rules and the video Taking a stand against racism in sport are designed to help players, coaches, managers, administrators and supporters to better understand the harm caused by racism, their rights and obligations under Victorian law, and what they can do to stop racism from occurring.
If players do experience discrimination or vilification through their sports and recreation activities, the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission's complaints service offers free, fair and timely dispute resolution.
The Reducing Racism project – which aligns with the Commission’s strategic priority of ‘reducing racism’ – combines education sessions, a community reporting tool and a suite of videos featuring young African Victorians.
Co-designing education programs and new resources
In collaboration with the Nelson Mandela Commemorative Day Committee, we designed a train the trainer’s program that helped ten young African Victorian graduate as African Ambassadors enabling them to be advocates for their communities.
Collaborative community partnerships
In 2019, we developed strong partnerships with
Australian Intercultural Society
Australian Muslim Women’s Centre for Human Rights (AMWCHR)
Ethnic Community Council Victoria (ECCV)
Islamic Council Victoria (ICV)
Nelson Mandela Commemorative Day Committee
Victorian Arab Social Services
Partnerships with local government and the community reporting tool
In the last five months, we have worked closely with the City of Darebin, the City of Yarra and the City of Whittlesea, running a mix of community consultations and information sessions that aim to empower vulnerable communities experiencing racism, religious discrimination, and racial and religious vilification, to understand their rights under the law, and to exercise them.
We also worked alongside the Victorian Local Government Multicultural Issues Network (VLGMIN) to promote the pilot of a new community reporting tool that make it easier for culturally and linguistically diverse groups – particularly members of African and Muslim communities – to make complaints about racism and discrimination.
Preview the community reporting tool
We encourage you to speak out and make a report through this tool if you or someone you know is confronted with racism or discrimination of any kind.
To date, the participating councils include:
Benalla Rural City Council
City of Darebin
Glen Eira City Council
Moreland City Council
Maribyrnong City Council
Yarra City Council
If your council would like to participate in this pilot, contact us. The pilot phase began in June and closes on 31 December 2019.
The 'Close Up' videos
The 'Close Up' videos are the personal stories of Titan, Barry and Mawa – three young African Victorians, two of whom are Muslim. They each describe their experiences of racism, the impact these have had on them and their vision for a more inclusive Australia.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
call the Commission’s Enquiry Line on 1300 292 153 or (03) 9032 3583.
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.
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.
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:
increase awareness of sexual and gender diversity
promote safe and inclusive environments
develop a flexible model of engagement that can be adapted for other sporting codes and their governing bodies.
The project now has four components:
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.
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
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.
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.