City to host new Community Reporting Tool on its website

The City of Greater Bendigo has added a new reporting feature to its website to help residents report direct or indirect experiences of human rights mistreatment. 

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission’s Community Reporting Tool (CRT) is now available for anyone to confidentially report experiences of racism, discrimination, hate-speech and religious vilification, or to raise concerns about breaches of their human rights or the mistreatment of others.

Mayor Cr Jennifer Alden said the City was pleased to partner with the Commission. 

“Today is Human Rights Day around the world, so it is fitting to be making this addition to the City’s website and providing an ongoing opportunity for anyone in our community to share their experiences and feel safe in doing so,” Cr Alden said. 

“The Commission understands that a formal process of making a report can be intimidating for some, so the CRT is a simple form that makes it easier for people to make short, direct and confidential reports.

“Making a report requires only a simple description of an incident, which is then sent directly to the Commission via email. If a community member requests follow up, then the Commission will consider the issue raised to determine how best to respond. 

“Reports may also be used by the Commission to inform its advocacy work with government departments and agencies to address racism and religious discrimination in communities.

“I encourage our community to use this tool as a way to confidentially report any incidents they may see or experience and seek further assistance should they need it.”  

The City decided to host the CRT following discussions with members of the Refugee Settlement Network, who raised concerns about COVID-19-related racism incidents in Greater Bendigo. It was also a recommendation in the City’s Human Rights Charter evaluation report. 

Bendigo Community Health Services’ Cultural Diversity and Relationships Team Manager, Kaye Graves, said the reporting tool would be welcomed by multicultural communities. 

“Our experience through COVID-19 showed that many of our multicultural communities are fearful of making reports about their experiences. Largely, this is due to the path they have taken to come to Australia and has often involved war and conflict, so they are reluctant to do or say anything that will draw attention,” Ms Graves said. 

“However, it is important that these experiences are captured and that these community members are supported should they wish to then formalise their report and take the matter further. Engagement through the Commission is a great way for them to build trust in an authority.”

All information provided through the CRT will be sent directly to the Commission. The City will not hold any information. 

Personal details of a community member are treated in the strictest confidence in accordance with the Privacy Act 1988 (Commonwealth), the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Victoria) and the Australian Privacy Principles. 

More information regarding the CRT can be found at www.bendigo.vic.gov.au/CRT

 

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