Equal Opportunity and Anti-Discrimination

Advice on developing policies and procedures related to equal opportunity and anti-discrimination.

Please scroll to the bottom of the page for contacts and links

Do you need to comply?

Yes, under the provisions of a range of Commonwealth and Victorian laws.

Conditions of compliance

Equal Opportunity and anti-discrimination is a requirement under Commonwealth and State legislation.

Equal opportunity and anti-discrimination practices should be addressed as part of a school’s duty of care to provide respectful, safe and inclusive school environment which is, free of discrimination, harassment, bullying, vilification, victimisation and otherwise unlawful and unacceptable behaviours.

Schools must adhere to the following Commonwealth and State legislation:

  • Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth.)
  • Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth.)
  • Sex Discrimination Act 1984 (Cth.)
  • Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission Act 1986 (Cth.)
  • Charter of Human Rights & Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic.)
  • Age Discrimination Act 2004 (Cth.)
  • Equal Opportunity Act 2010 (Vic.)
  • Racial and Religious Tolerance Act 2001 (Vic.)
  • Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic.)
  • Multicultural Victoria Act 2011 (Vic.)
  • Education & Training Reform Act 2006 (Vic.).

If you have to comply, what do you have to do?

Schools have a responsibility to ensure students are safe within the school and broader learning environments and must provide an appropriate duty of care to all students.

Schools should implement a whole school approach and implement policies, procedures and strategies that are guided by the principles of acceptance, dignity and respect for diversity.

Policies should include strategies to:

  • create a positive school culture that is fair and respectful
  • expect positive, supportive and respectful relationships that are inclusive and value diversity
  • promote pro-social values and behaviours
  • proactively engage with students, parents/carers, local community and promote consistency and a positive approach by all stakeholders encouraging student participation and student voice
  • implement strategies that enable students to communicate with teachers or other school-based staff when support is required
  • regular self-monitoring to review policies, programs and practices and include feedback mechanisms to ensure continuous improvement
  • programs to up-skill young people, e.g. bystander training, resilience training
  • modifications to the physical environment
  • teacher professional development.

What are the consequences if you don’t comply?

You may be putting your students’ health and wellbeing at risk.

Who will help you?

Independent Schools Victoria contact:

Peter Roberts
Director, School Services
Ph: 9825 7211
peter.roberts@is.vic.edu.au

Kieren Noonan
School Services Advisor
Ph. 03 9825 7275
kieren.noonan@is.vic.edu.au

Documents for Download

PDFISV: Information Paper on Students and Gender Identity

Word DocumentISV: Students and Gender Identity Model Policy

PDFISV: Equal Opportunity guidelines for schools

PDFISV: Equal Opportunity policy checklist

Word DocumentISV: Equal Opportunity and Anti-Harassment Model Policy

PDFISV: Equal Opportunity and Anti-Discrimination Online Links

PDFVic DET: Building Respectful and Safe Schools

PDFCommission for Children and Young People: A Guide for Creating a Child Safe Organisation