Victorians love sport and while it may unite us and divide us, it should always feel safe and inclusive. We all have a right to be treated equally and fairly when playing, coaching, umpiring and administrating sports.
How does the law protect me?
Under the Equal Opportunity Act 2010, sports clubs and organisations have a positive duty to eliminate discrimination and victimisation as far as possible.
The law protects you from discrimination
When participating in sports, it is against the law for someone to treat you unfairly or bully you because of a personal characteristic that is protected by law, such as your:
- sexual orientation.
‘Sporting activities’ under the Equal Opportunity Act includes a wide range of activities, including activities not traditionally thought of as ‘sport’, such as chess and debating.
In sport, discrimination could include:
- refusing to allow you to play sport because of your sexual orientation
- refusing to select you in a sporting team because of your height
- excluding you from a sporting activity because of your disability.
Find out more about discrimination.
The law protects you from sexual harassment
The Equal Opportunity Act makes sexual harassment against the law in a number of areas of life where people participate in sport, for example, goods and services, employment and clubs.
For example, if the sports team you play for is recognised as a club under the Equal Opportunity Act, sexual harassment is against the law, whether it is committed by:
- other players
Many, but not all, sporting clubs have legal obligations under the Equal Opportunity Act (that is, if they are clubs with more than 30 people and an ongoing license to supply liquor).
It is important to note that a lot of people play sport in facilities run by service providers and such providers need to take action to protect patrons from sexual harassment and ensure that they act on all complaints respectfully, promptly and impartially.
Find out more about sexual harassment.
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.
You can make a complaint
Get help from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.
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 the Commission helps people resolve complaints.
We can also give you information about your rights.
Are there any exceptions to the law?
There are some exceptions in the Equal Opportunity Act that mean it’s not against the law to discriminate in particular circumstances. For example, discrimination is not against the law if there is a real risk to someone’s health, safety or property.
Find out more about exceptions.
My human rights under the Charter
Every Victorian has the right to equal and effective protection against discrimination, and to enjoy their human rights without discrimination.
Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities contains 20 basic rights that promote and protect the values of freedom, respect, equality, and dignity.
The Victorian Government, local councils and other public authorities must always consider Charter rights, including the right to equality, when they create laws, develop policies and deliver their services.
Find out more about your human rights under the Charter and what to do if you think they have been breached.