Decriminalisation of sex work

On 13 August 2021, the Victorian Government announced that it is seeking to decriminalise sex work. The first stage of this process likely to begin in 2022.

Contributor

Suzan Gencay

Lawyer

Sex workers’ safety

Last updated

1 July 2021

Under the Sex Work Regulations 2016 (Vic), if a sex worker decides not to provide, or to stop providing, sexual services because they believe a situation is potentially violent or unsafe, the sex work service provider must not:

  • dispute the sex worker’s decision; 
  • initiate or allow punitive action against the sex worker; or
  • permit another person to do anything referred to in the two bullet points above.*

The penalty for this conduct is up to 40 pu.

Every brothel room used for sex work must have a concealed alarm button or similar device easily accessible by a sex worker throughout the delivery of sexual services. Not complying with this requirement is an offence that attracts a penalty of up to 40 pu.

Escort agencies must ensure the safety of sex workers delivering sexual services away from business premises by:

  • ensuring regular contact with the sex worker who will confirm their arrival at each new premises and the completion of each visit;
  • ensuring that each sex worker is provided with a mobile phone or device to enable contact with the sex work service provider or manager;
  • assisting the sex worker as soon as possible if they advise that a situation is potentially violent or unsafe.

* Please note that we acknowledge that forcing someone to have sex is rape and that consent can be withdrawn at any time. Sex workers are no different from any other person who has these rights. 

For more information about sexual offences, see Chapter 3.3: Sexual offences.

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