Who is leading the change
- Family Safety Victoria
The Victorian Government, in the context of its commitment to review equal opportunity and birth certificate laws, examine the need to clarify relevant provisions of the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic) to remove any capacity for family violence accommodation and service providers to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex Victorians.
As part of our approach, the Department of Premier and Cabinet and the Department of Justice and Community Safety assessed the recommendation and undertook consultation with relevant government, sector and community stakeholders.
After considering other options, a non-legislative approach was decided to implement the recommendation.
Family Safety Victoria led the work on non-legislative responses to the recommendation, including providing support for a network of faith-based family violence service providers to progress work on the recommendation’s intent.
The Government considered Recommendation 169 in the context of its overall legislative program, and, in particular, proposed legislative changes to equal opportunity and birth certificate laws that had not been passed by Parliament noting that birth certificate laws were subsequently passed by Parliament in August 2019. As an alternative to legislative amendments, the Government considered how the key intent of Recommendation 169 – that is, to address concerns in LGBTIQ communities about potential discrimination in the provision of family violence services, particularly on religious grounds – could be achieved through other measures.
With the assistance of the Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality, the Government undertook direct consultation with family violence service providers about what was needed to ensure non-discriminatory and inclusive family violence service provision.
A network of faith-based family violence service providers was established and met throughout 2017 and 2018 to progress work in this area.
At an event on 30 August 2018, the Network launched a joint Statement of Support (Statement) for LGBTIQ clients, publicly announcing members’ commitment to inclusive and non-discriminatory service delivery (see video ). Through the release of the Statement, members made a public commitment to refrain from using the exceptions/exemptions available under the Equal Opportunity Act to discriminate against LGBTIQ clients, in line with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s ‘Guideline: Family Violence Services and Accommodation: Complying with the Equal Opportunity Act 2010’.
The statement reads “We welcome lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, gender diverse and intersex (LGBTIQ) people at our services. We pledge to provide inclusive and non-discriminatory services to LGBTIQ clients”. The Network has noted that building organisational capacity and workforce capability would take time, as would building trust with people from LGBTIQ communities. As part of their commitment, Network members pledged to undertake LGBTIQ-inclusive training and accreditation. This has since occurred.
The 12 Network members were prioritised ahead of other agencies to participate in the initial roll-out of the HOW2 (‘Rainbow Tick ready’) LGBTIQ inclusive training program. In addition, some Network members are also undertaking Rainbow Tick accreditation (accreditation) or have already successfully completed accreditation. The Victorian Government is funding the roll-out of the HOW2 Program and supporting at least one organisation in each current operational area of The Orange Door to undertake Rainbow Tick accreditation as part of its response to Royal Commission recommendation 167. This is in addition to other LGBTIQ capacity building initiatives supported by government in the family violence and broader service systems.
This work complements other recommendations that aim to build accessible and inclusive family violence services in Victoria, such as Recommendations 140, 141 and 168.
Reviewed 17 May 2020