Racial and religious vilification
Victoria’s rich cultural diversity is one of our greatest strengths as a state. Everyone should feel safe and welcome. Unfortunately, some people think it’s OK to treat others badly because of their race or religion. It’s not.
No one should be treated unfairly because of where they come from, how they look or the language they speak.
What is vilification?
Victoria has a law to protect you from vilification because of your race or your religion.
The legal definition is behaviour that “incites hatred, serious contempt, revulsion or severe ridicule” for a person or group of people, because of their race or religion.
The law about vilification is the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001.
How does the law protect me?
The Racial and Religious Tolerance Act makes it against the law to vilify a person or group of people because of their race or religion.
The Commission can help resolve complaints of vilification.
Are there any exceptions to the law?
The Racial and Religious Tolerance Act does not apply to private behaviour.
Some public behaviour may not be seen as vilification if it is reasonable and done in good faith. This includes
- art or a performance
- a statement, published work, discussion or debate in the public interest
- a fair and accurate report in the media.
What can I do if I’m vilified because of my race or religion?
You can make a complaint
Get help from us.
You can make a complaint to us if you think you have experienced:
If you wish, someone else can make a complaint for you. Find out how we help people resolve complaints.
We can also give you information about your rights.
It is also against the law to victimise a person, which means treat them badly or unfairly, because they have made a complaint about discrimination, sexual harassment or vilification, or have helped someone else to make a complaint.
First Nations rights
It is against the law to treat you unfairly or bully you because you are First Nations.
Racism resources for multicultural and multifaith audiences
We have information and resources to help you learn more about your rights relating to racism and discrimination.