Discrimination & harassment
If you or a friend feel that you are being discriminated against or harassed, there is something you can do about it. No matter what your age, federal and Victorian laws protect you from discrimination or harassment on the basis of gender, disability, religion, race, colour, age or marital status.
Discrimination on any of these grounds is not okay, whether you're at school, at work, undertaking training or further education, participating in sport, pursuing an interest through a club or buying or selling something.
And if you make a complaint or help someone else make a complaint, it is against the law for someone to treat you unfairly or pick on you because you have done so.
What is discrimination and harassment?
Being discriminated against is being treated unfairly because of your gender, your religious beliefs, you have a disability, your race, colour, age or marital status.
Harassment is when you are persistently picked on, hassled or bullied because of your gender, your religious beliefs, you have a disability, your race, colour, age or marital status.
Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC) Australia (new window) is part of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, an international convention that protects the rights of children and young people up to the age of 18. Find out more about your rights under this convention on our 'Youth Rights' page in this section.
Equal Opportunity Commissions - where you lodge a complaint
The Victorian and Federal Government Equal Opportunity Commissions deal with discrimination and harassment complaints. There are commissions at both state and federal levels because different laws cover different areas of discrimination and harassment. If you're not sure where to go, start your enquiries with the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission who can tell you whether you need to make your complaint under federal or state law.
The following places can give you more information about your rights, how you're protected and how you can make a complaint. If you don't feel that you are able to make a complaint by yourself, talk to a parent, teacher or an older person that you trust and ask them to help you.
Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission
The Commission provides information and advice about discrimination and harassment across a range of topics including age, disability, gender, political belief, race, pregnancy and sex. It can also help you make a complaint or resolve your issue, and has a free and confidential telephone enquiry and advice line.
Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HROC) - Information for Students
Federal laws also protect you from discrimination in the areas of race, sex or disability discrimination and human rights and the HROC is the organisation that oversees these.
The Commission's Frequently Asked Questions page provides a good starting point for finding information about discrimination and your rights, how you are protected and how you can make a complaint. The site also has specific sections on race and sex discrimination, disability rights, human rights and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social justice.
Victorian and Civil Administrative Tribunal (VCAT)
While the Victorian Equal Opportunity Commission is the first place to go to for information and advice about discrimination and harassment, VCAT will look at complaints of discrimination and harassment referred by the Commission.
Lawstuff - Discrimination
Find information about discrimination in the workplace, lodging complaints and discrimination laws on this no-nonsense, easy to read site. You'll also find information about your rights at work on our Employee Rights page.
Racism. No Way - Anti-racism education for Australian Schools
The Racism No Way website is a project aimed at helping students and people in the schools and education learn more about racism and how to recognise and address it. Check out the E-challenges for some cool information and resources.