New Change or Suppression Practice Laws Commence in Victoria

This article applies to all organisations.

Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act 2021 (Vic)

Overview

The remaining parts of the Change or Suppression (Conversion) Practices Prohibition Act 2021 (Vic) (the Act) commenced on 17 February 2022.

By way of overview, the Act creates new criminal offences relating to change or suppression practices.

Section 5 of the Act provides that a change or suppression practice is a practice or conduct directed towards a person, whether with or without the person’s consent:

  • on the basis of the person’s sexual orientation or gender identity; and
  • for the purpose of changing or suppressing the sexual orientation or gender identity of the person, or inducing the person to change or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The key changes introduced by the Act are discussed below.

Offences relating to change or suppression practices

Section 9 of the Act contains a general prohibition that prohibits change or suppression practices, indicating that a person or organisation who engages in a change or suppression practice violates the Act. An individual or organisation may be reported under the civil response scheme or charged with a criminal offence under the Act. We note that an organisation is defined as an unincorporated body or association, whether the body or association is based in or outside Australia or is part of a larger organisation.

Under section 10 of the Act, it is unlawful for a person to deliberately engage in a change or suppression practice (or practices) towards another person that causes serious injury, where they are negligent as to whether engaging in the change or suppression practice (or practices) would cause serious injury. A breach of section 10 for a body corporate incurs a maximum fine of 6000 penalty units (currently $1,090,440).

In addition, section 11 of the Act makes it an offence for a person to deliberately engage in a change or suppression practice (or practices) towards another person that causes injury, where they are negligent as to whether engaging in the change or suppression practice (or practices) would cause injury. A breach of section 11 for a body corporate incurs a maximum fine of 3000 penalty units (currently $545,220).

Furthermore, an individual is guilty of an offence under section 12 of the Act if they take another person from Victoria (or arrange for someone to be taken from Victoria) with the intention to direct a change or suppression practice (or practices) at that person outside Victoria, where the change or suppression practice (or practices) results in injury, and where they are negligent to as to whether the change or suppression practice (or practices) would cause injury. The maximum penalty for a body corporate for this offence is 1200 penalty units (currently $218,088).

Finally, section 13 of the Act makes it unlawful for individuals to publish, display, or authorise the display of any advertisement or notice indicating that an individual intends to engage in a change or suppression practice (or practices), other than for the purposes of warning of the harm caused by such practices. The maximum penalty for a body corporate for a breach of this offence is 200 penalty units (currently $36,348).

Conclusion

Organisations should ensure relevant staff are made aware of the new offences introduced by the Act as discussed above.


Contact

For further information please contact the Law Compliance team:

Phone: 1300 862 667

Email: info@lawcompliance.com.au

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