About the Act
Everyone has the right to be treated equally and without discrimination. Practices that seek to change or hide someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity are harmful and unlawful. The Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act 2021 bans these change or suppression practices and provides a range of options for preventing and responding to them.
What are change or suppression practices?
Change or suppression practices are deeply harmful practices which seek to change or hide an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity. They are sometimes referred to as ‘gay conversion’ practices or ‘conversion therapy’.
These practices are not supported by medical research. There is no evidence that sexual orientation or gender identity can be changed or suppressed.
Practices can include teachings, counselling, spiritual care activities, or other psychological or medical interventions based on the ideology that there is something wrong or broken about people with diverse sexualities or gender identities.
There is nothing wrong or broken about being LGBTIQ.
These practices can involve people receiving subtle and repeated messages, that with faith and effort, they can change or hide their sexual orientation or gender identity.
What does the Act do
The Act bans change or suppression practices and provides a range of options for preventing and responding to these practices. These options are trauma- and survivor-informed. We will continue to involve survivors in the review and development of these options as they evolve.
This approach reflects the first recommendation of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Change Efforts Statement (SOGICE Statement) that ‘survivors must be equal partners defining the movement.’
The Act includes:
- a broad definition of change or suppression practices
- four new criminal offences for:
- practices which cause injury
- practices which cause serious injury
- removing someone from Victoria for the purpose of subjecting them to a change or suppression practice
- advertising change or suppression practices
- civil (non-criminal) options for preventing and responding to change or suppression practices.
The criminal offences will be overseen by Victoria Police. The Commission may also bring proceedings for the offence of advertising a change or suppression practice.
What is the Commission’s role?
The Act includes a civil (non-criminal) response scheme run by the Commission to support survivors and address the harm they have endured.
The Act empowers us to consider and respond to reports of change or suppression practices from any person, as well as launch investigations and enforce outcomes where there is evidence of serious or systemic change or suppression practices.
Responses to reports are survivor- and trauma-informed, focusing on education and facilitation processes.
The focus on educative and facilitative functions reflects that the most effective way to prohibit and eliminate change or suppression practices is through long-term cultural change. Without education and facilitation, such practices are likely to be pushed underground. This approach will also ensure that any response can be shaped to meet the needs and wishes of the affected person.
The four new criminal offences within the Act will be overseen by Victoria Police. The Commission may also bring proceedings for the offence of advertising a change or suppression practice.
Victorians with intersex variations
Change and suppression practices do not include forced medical interventions on people with intersex variations.
Of course, some people with intersex variations are LGBTIQ and have been subject to change and suppression practices.
The Victorian Government’s future directions for Victoria’s Intersex community ‘(i) Am Equal’ aims to improve the treatment and care of people, especially infants and children, with an intersex variation.
People with intersex variations are now better protected from discrimination – with sex characteristics added as a protected attribute in the Equal Opportunity Act (2010) on 26 October 2021.
Information in your language
If you need more information about this Act in your language, email us and we will provide it to you.
Translated fact sheets
The following fact sheets were prepared before the Act commenced. As such, it refers to the ‘proposed law’. The substantive content of the fact sheets remain accurate.