Human rights

We investigate complaints about human rights. We look to see if a public organisation has breached human rights or not considered them properly. Find out how we can help.

The law protects people’s human rights in Victoria. Twenty rights are set out in the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic).

Public organisations in Victoria must not act in a way that breaches human rights. They must also properly think about a person’s human rights when making their decisions. A person’s human rights can be limited in some situations, but the limitation must be reasonable.

The human rights protected in Victoria are the right to:

  • recognition and equality before the law
  • life
  • protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment
  • freedom from forced work
  • freedom of movement
  • privacy and reputation
  • freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief
  • freedom of expression
  • peaceful assembly and freedom of association
  • protection of families and children
  • take part in public life
  • enjoy your culture, practice your religion and speak your language
  • not have your property taken away, unless the law says it can be taken
  • liberty and security of person
  • humane treatment when deprived of liberty
  • certain protections for children in the criminal process
  • a fair hearing
  • certain protections in criminal proceedings
  • not be tried or punished more than once for the same crime
  • not be found guilty of a crime if the behaviour was not against the law when it happened.

What is our role?

We are the human rights investigators in Victoria.

We look to see if an organisation has breached human rights or not considered them properly.

People do not need to mention human rights in their complaint for us to consider them.

When we deal with complaints, we decide if:

  • human rights are relevant
  • the organisation has limited a person's enjoyment of their human rights
  • the limitation is unreasonable in the circumstances.

We can decide it is unlawful if an organisation limits a person's human rights in an unreasonable way. We can then suggest ways for the organisation to fix the problem.

What type of complaints can we take?

We can deal with complaints about most public organisations, but not Victoria Police. This is the same for human rights complaints.

Human rights might be relevant in many complaints, including those about:

  • child protection
  • participating in public life
  • access to services and supports
  • the treatment of people in prison, youth justice or a health service
  • speaking your language and practising your religion or culture.

If you think a public organisation has breached your human rights, get in touch to see if we can help.


Looking to make a complaint?

Use our online form to create and submit your complaint