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Right to liberty and security of person

Section 21 of the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities (the Charter) protects your right to liberty and security. It means you cannot be arrested or detained, unless it’s allowed by the law. The Charter applies to public authorities in Victoria, such as state and local government departments and agencies, and people delivering services on behalf of the government.

How does the law protect me?

Every Victorian has the right to be free and safe. Under the Charter, you have the right to liberty and security. You cannot be detained or arrested, except in situations allowed by the law. 

If you are arrested or detained lawfully, you must be told why it is happening  and what charges are being brought against you. In such situations, you need to be brought to trial as quickly as possible, and you may be released if there are unnecessary delays. You can ask the court or tribunal to explain why your detention is lawful. 

If you are awaiting a trial, you cannot automatically be detained – but you may be required to provide a guarantee that you’ll appear at the trial or another hearing.

Can this right be limited in any way?

In some circumstances, one person’s right may come into conflict with the right of another person or group. In these circumstances, it can be necessary to limit or restrict these rights. Under section 7(2) of the Charter, rights may be limited in certain circumstances, but it must be reasonable, necessary, justified and proportionate.

How we can help

We can give you information about Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities but we do not handle complaints related to the Charter.

If you would like more information about the Charter and your rights, please contact us.

For information about the legal history of this right, case law or Australia’s human rights framework, you can read more in our Policy and Legal sections of our website.

How to make a human rights complaint

If you think your human rights have been breached, you should contact the Victorian Ombudsman.

If you want to make a complaint about police conduct, contact the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission.

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Level 3, 204 Lygon Street Carlton Victoria 3053

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1300 891 848

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1300 292 153 or (03) 9032 3583

1300 152 494

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1300 555 727 then use 1300 292 153

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0447 526 642

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission acknowledges that we work on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation. We also work remotely and serve communities on the lands of other Traditional Custodians.

We pay our respects to their Elders past and present.