Major Sector Inquiries
Inquiry into Assisted Reproductive Treatment Practices
Our report on the Inquiry into Assisted Reproductive Treatment (ART) practices in Victoria was released by the Victorian Minister for Health, the Hon Martin Foley, MP in January 2021.
The report made recommendations regarding ART service provision in Victoria, including several recommendations, relating specifically to communication and counselling services and complaint handling.
In the coming months we will be working closely with ART and fertility clinics to progress some of the recommendations. The response of this sector has been very pleasing and there is a strong willingness to collaborate to improve areas we identified through our inquiry as needing change. We look forward to working with the ART and fertility sector.
Inquiry into Private Health Service Providers offering alcohol and other drug rehabilitation and counselling services in Victoria
With extra funding from the Victorian Government in 2018, we carried out a major sector-wide inquiry into privately funded alcohol and other drug (AOD) services. Our review identified some disturbing patterns within the privately funded AOD treatment sector. Based on the review, the Commissioner has made a number of key recommendations to help establish a stronger regulatory framework for privately funded AOD providers.
Conversion Therapy Legislation
Following an inquiry we conducted into practices which sought to change, suppress or eliminate an individual's sexual orientation or gender identity, the Commissioner provided our final report to the Minister for Health in March 2020. One of the recommendations in that report, based on the findings of the inquiry, was that the Government consider introducing legislation to prohibit conversation practices in Victoria.
What has followed is the introduction of the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act 2021, which was passed by the Victorian Parliament on 4 February 2021 and which introduces a general prohibition in Victoria on practices which attempt to change or suppress a person's sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is empowered under the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act 2021 to consider and respond to reports of change or suppression practices from any person, as well as launch outcomes where there is evidence of serious or systemic change or suppression practices. In addition to the legislative ban on practices, work is also occurring to assist mental health practitioners to better understand the trauma experienced and how to offer services to people who have been subjected to change or suppression practices.
We are pleased that the work of our office has played a part in such important legislative and social change.