On this page

Equal, Safe and Strong - Victoria Police Gender Equality Strategy

In 2020 Victoria Police set the ambitious goal to achieve sustainable gender equality by 2030.

Built upon five years of organisational reforms, Equal, Safe and Strong – Victoria Police Gender Equality Strategy 2020–2030 (the strategy) provides the roadmap for how Victoria Police will continue to transform to become a gender equal organisation, where all our people can thrive in their service to the community.

The key mechanism for making material progress towards this goal is through regular action plans. Equal, Safe & Strong – Victoria Police Gender Equality Action Plan 2022–2024 (the action plan) is the first of three action plans to support the implementation of the strategy.
These action plans will outline tangible commitments to harnessing innovation in our practice and culture. With a strong focus on monitoring and evaluation, we will reflect on our progress and lessons learned as we develop each successive action plan.

Strong accountability across all levels of the workforce is vital if we are to achieve the scope and scale of this change.

Our organisational accountability is governed by the Gender Equality Act 2020 (the Act) which mandates that Victoria Police takes positive action towards achieving workplace gender equality and publicly reports on our progress.

The Victoria Police ten-year strategy was built on five years of collaborative effort with the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC). This partnership gave us a deep understanding of the unique challenges we face as an organisation in achieving sustainable gender equality.

The establishment of the Commission for Gender Equality in the Public Sector (the Commission) provided Victoria Police with the opportunity to further strengthen our approach by providing a legislative framework with clear external accountabilities. The strategy ensures we meet our requirements under the Act, while continuing our role as leaders in gender equality reform.

Equal, Safe and Strong ten-year vision

  • Victoria Police leads the way in sustainable gender equality. 
  • All Victoria Police employees work in a safe and equal workplace, have access to equal power, resources and opportunities, and are treated with dignity, respect and fairness. 
  • Victoria Police culture values a diverse workforce, reflective of gender representation in the community. 
  • All Victoria Police employees recognise that gender equality benefits everyone and enhances police responses to the community, especially those who have experienced gendered violence.

The Gender Equality Act 2020

The Gender Equality Act 2020 (the Act), which took effect on 31 March 2021, will improve workplace gender equality across the Victorian public sector.

The Act requires defined entities to: 

  • develop and implement a gender equality action plan, which includes:
    • results of a workplace gender audit
    • strategies for achieving workplace gender equality
  • publicly report on their progress in relation to workplace gender equality
  • promote gender equality in policies, programs and services that impact the public
  • complete gender impact assessments.

Developing a meaningful Equal, Safe and Strong action plan

The Gender Equality and Inclusion Command (GEIC) coordinated the development of this first Equal, Safe & Strong action plan. Aligned with the requirements of the Commission, the action plan was developed through the following process.

Figure 1: Developing a meaningful action plan

  • Download' Figure 1: Developing a meaningful action plan'

Our first step in drafting the action plan was to conduct a Workplace Gender Audit on our three distinct employee types: police officers, Victorian Public Service employees and Protective Services Officers (PSOs). 

This painted a picture of the current state of gender equality in Victoria Police as at 30 June 2021. The audit assessed the organisation according to the seven indicators outlined in the Act1.  The data was submitted to the Commission on 1 December 2021 to be made publicly available. 

We strengthened our understanding of the current opportunities and obstacles by reviewing our 2021 People Matter Survey data and the extent to which we have successfully implemented the recommendations made by VEOHRC in its two independent audits2.

An important part of the development of the action plan was engaging closely with our people to draw on their experience and jointly explore future areas of focus.

Our approach to meaningful consultation included regular communication about the development of the action plan and sharing the results of the Workplace Gender Audit. We invited employee input using an online feedback form, with over 1,500 responses received. 

We also conducted focus groups with a representative sample of the workforce and our employee networks, including our Women in Policing Committees and Advisory Group, Pride Network (LGBTIQ+ employees), Enablers Network (employees with a disability), the Aboriginal Employee Network Council and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Networks. These consultations provided an intersectional lens to our work.

We engaged with our employee representative bodies, the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) and The Police Association of Victoria (TPAV), to ensure that our work was informed by their understanding of the challenges facing our employees. This included obtaining their feedback on the Workplace Gender Audit and engaging in an ongoing dialogue on our areas of focus and proposed actions.

Working closely with our Gender Equality Outcomes Committee (GEOC), consisting of our partners in key commands and departments, and internal working groups, we consolidated our data and feedback to jointly develop 29 actions.

We also coordinated a Strategy Resource Plan to outline the resources and governance structures that will deliver our actions.

As a result of this approach, the action plan reflects the expertise, experience and voices of our people and partners. The success of its implementation relies on continuing this collaboration.

1 The Gender Equality Act 2020 indicators are: Gender composition at all levels of the workforce, Gender composition of governing bodies, Gender pay equity, Workplace sexual harassment, Recruitment and promotion, Leave and flexibility and Gendered work segregation.

2 Victorian Equal Opportunity Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) (2015) Independent Review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including predatory behaviour in Victoria Police. Phase 1 report, Victorian Equal Opportunity Human Rights Commission, Melbourne, Australia.

Victorian Equal Opportunity Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC) (2019) Independent Review into sex discrimination and sexual harassment, including predatory behaviour in Victoria Police. Phase 3 audit and review, Victorian Equal Opportunity Human Rights Commission, Melbourne, Australia.