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Investigating systemic racism – a resource for lawyers and advocates

In partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service (VALS) we have created this legal resource to assist lawyers and advocates who represent Aboriginal Victorians in coronial inquests.


This resource has been developed following decisions in the Inquest into the Death of Tanya Day, 2020 which involved Aboriginal Victorians and considered rights under the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (the Charter).


VALS represented the Day family in the Day Inquest and the Commission intervened in its proceedings to make submissions regarding the operation and interpretation of relevant sections in the Charter.

About this case

The Day Inquest broke new ground as the first inquest to consider whether systemic racism contributed to the cause and circumstances of a death. The Coroner did this by interpreting her fact-finding function consistently with the rights to life and to equality in the Charter.

About this resource

Investigating systemic racism

This resource explains what systemic racism is and how coroners can investigate systemic racism. It contains useful precedents in investigating systemic racism in deaths and custody and explains how to show the Coroner’s Court that systemic racism prima facie arises in the inquest.

The resource also shows the relevance of the Charter to arguing that systemic racism is within scope and how investigating systemic racism is consistent with the Court’s obligation under the Charter.


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Level 3, 204 Lygon Street Carlton Victoria 3053

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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.