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Victoria Police amend the Victorian Police Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence to take into account the difficulties women face in the sex industry


Who is leading the change

  • Victoria Police

Victoria Police amend the Victoria Police Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence to describe the difficulties women in the sex industry face in reporting family violence to police and how to take those difficulties into account when investigating family violence perpetrated against these victims.

  • The Victoria Police Code of Practice for the Investigation of Family Violence will be amended to provide information to police on the experiences of family violence victims who work in the sex industry. This includes difficulties experienced by people who work in the sex industry in reporting family violence incidents and advice for police on how to consider these difficulties when investigating family violence incidents. The new guidance material will be embedded in family violence education programs developed by Victoria Police’s Centre of Learning for Family Violence.

  • The Royal Commission made a number of recommendations to improve guidance for police in the Code of Practice on a number of topics. To implement these recommendations new practice notes on a range of specific topics have been included in the Code of Practice.

    The ‘People who work in the sex industry’ practice note has been developed to implement this recommendation. This practice note informs police that:

    • women who work in the sex industry
      • are disproportionally affected by family violence
      • may be victims of family violence perpetrated by an intimate partner within the home
      • are disproportionally likely to have experienced violence within their childhood
      • may have entered the sex industry in order to financially support themselves or their family as a consequence of family violence
    • males and transgender people who work in the sex industry are also affected by family violence
    • community attitudes may impact on the capacity and desire of people who work in the sex industry to seek assistance in matters of family violence
    • violence within the sex industry may be normalised which may impact a victim’s understanding of what constitutes family violence. This may also influence the willingness of victims to report or seek support, or to recognise intimate partner abuse as family violence
    • the importance that people who work in the sex industry who are victims of family violence receive appropriate responses and support from police and be provided with access to appropriate support services, to ensure their safety and aid in their recovery

    The amended Code of Practice incorporating this practice note has been uploaded to the Victoria Police website. It has also been communicated to family violence teams and operational police across Victoria Police. As the above actions are complete this recommendation is implemented.

  • Implemented.

Reviewed 17 May 2020

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