Submissions to this consultation have now closed. We thank you for your contributions.

Overview

Every Victorian worker, no matter their industry, deserves to feel safe in their workplace.

In Victoria, sex work is currently regulated under a legalised model, which means sex work is only legal if it takes place under certain conditions set out in legislation.

For example, street-based sex work is currently a crime but selling sexual services at registered venues, escort agencies or as a private sex worker is permitted under a licensing and registration scheme. There is significant evidence that this regulation causes deep inequalities in the sex workforce, leading to poorer outcomes for sex workers as employees.

The Victorian Government plans to decriminalise sex work to maximise sex workers’ safety, health, and human rights, while also reducing stigma and fear of criminal repercussions for sex workers. Decriminalising sex work will mean that sex workers will be able to access the same services and be entitled to the same rights as any other worker, without fear of repercussion.

Decriminalising sex work will also mean removing criminal laws relating to consensual sex work and regulating sex work through standard business laws.

What has happened so far

In November 2019, the Victorian Government asked Fiona Patten MP to lead a review to make recommendations for decriminalising sex work in Victoria.

The review consulted with a range of stakeholders to seek their views. This included: legal, health and education support service providers, commercial operators and industry organisations, sex workers, sex worker peer organisations, and workplace safety agencies, local government and Federal Government agencies, law enforcement agencies, and other community and expert organisations.

After considering the review, the government has developed a model for the decriminalisation of sex work. We are now seeking feedback on how this will be implemented in the community.

What decriminalisation of sex work will look like

The Victorian Government’s proposed model for decriminalisation of sex work will:

  • Remove offences and criminal penalties for consensual sex work in most circumstances. This will include abolishing offences for street-based sex work in most locations and repealing public health offences associated with sex work.
  • Repeal the Sex Work Act and regulate the sex work industry through existing regulatory agencies.
  • Roll out related reforms to support decriminalisation. For example, planning, public health, and anti-discrimination laws.

You can find out more about the proposed model in the discussion paper below.

How your submissions will be used

Submissions will be reviewed and will help inform the implementation of the decriminalisation of sex work reforms by the Victorian Government.

Consultation information will also be shared with the Minister for Consumer Affairs Victoria and relevant government departments and agencies.

Privacy collection statement

The Department of Justice and Community Safety (DJCS) is committed to protecting personal information provided by you in accordance with the principles of the Victorian privacy laws.

Your submission will be considered by DJCS as feedback on the implementation of the decriminalisation of sex work in Victoria.

You are not required to provide any personal information to make a submission to this consultation. All fields on the submission form relating to personal information are optional.

If you provide your contact details DJCS may use it to seek clarification on your submission, or to notify you about the progress of these reforms.

If you choose to make your submission by email, we may be able to identify you from your email address. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you can use the questionnaire on this page, or post your submission to DJCS. Please address written submissions to: Sex Work Decriminalisation, Department of Justice and Community Safety, GPO Box 4356, Melbourne VIC 3001.

Information will be held by DJCS and only used for the purpose of this consultation. DJCS will not disclose your personal information without your consent, except where required to do so by law. You may contact DJCS to request access to any personal information you have provided to us by emailing SWD@justice.vic.gov.au.

Following this consultation, a summary of submissions received may be made public on the Engage Victoria webpage. If this occurs, all submissions will be de-identified and no personal, health or sensitive information will be included when the summary is published.

DJCS Privacy Statement

For further information on how your personal information is handled please review the privacy policy of DJCS and Engage Victoria.