Launch of the Report Racism Pilot
It’s a real pleasure to be at VACSAL today to launch the Report Racism Pilot.
Before proceeding and in the spirit of reconciliation, I acknowledge the Wurundjeri people as the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet. It is upon their ancestral lands that this place is built. I pay my respects their Elders both past and present.
This simple acknowledgement of country is a powerful message to the people of Victoria that we celebrate the oldest continuing culture in the world, a culture that is joined with the many and diverse cultures of this modern and successful state.
Victoria’s cultural tapestry has been integral to our economic success.
It has been our ability to embrace diversity that has resulted in our emergence as an internationally admired community that has attracted people from all over the world to come here to live and to work.
But there is a shadow of racism that does exist in this state.
Racism exists in every community, but Victoria Police-along with community leaders and bystanders alike-has a role in combating it.
We understand that hatred and vilification of people is not only discriminatory, it will also affect our standing as an open, inclusive community in the eyes of the world.
That’s why this pilot is so important.
As Kate has said, we know Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in our community experience a great deal of racism.
Some of it is overt, vicious and against the law, some of it is casual and implied.
What ever form it takes, racism hurts.
Racism demeans the victim and racism should not be tolerated in what ever form it takes.
I believe that all fair thinking Victorians want our Aboriginal community to have a better life, a life defined by opportunity where demography does not define destiny.
Victoria Police is pleased to partner with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission and the Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service to pilot Report Racism.
Everyone has a right to be treated equally in the community and by the law- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are no exception.
We want to work with the Aboriginal community to reduce racism wherever and when ever it occurs.
By using the data we gather as a result of this pilot, we can build a data base on why, how, where and when racism occurs against Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians and devise strategies to help prevent it.
We will work hard to build trust, between Victoria Police and the Aboriginal community in a number of ways:
- being responsive and accountable for our actions, and
- by listening and acting on the community’s feedback about their experiences of racism.
By doing this Victoria Police will be able to develop effective strategies that reduce racism against Aboriginal and Torres Islander Victorians.
Victoria Police encourages the reporting of all racist incidents in the pilot regions. If Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Victorians are:
- abused on the street,
- discriminated against at work,
- racially vilified on the sporting field,
- refused service at restaurant because of the colour of their skin,
- or have been treated badly by their police,
they will now have an appropriate place to make a report and know they will be treated with respect.
At this point I want to acknowledge the outstanding work of Kate’s people from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission, Wayne’s people from Victorian Aboriginal Legal Service and Sue’s people from Priority Communities Division of Victoria Police in developing this Pilot.
I will continue to urge Victoria Police staff and the wider Victorian community, in particular the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to support this important work.
We now have an opportunity to increase our knowledge of the real life experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people within our community.
We have a lot to learn from this resilient and wonderful culture, a culture that has survived and thrived in the place we now call Victoria for over 60,000 years.