Community wellbeing and human rights
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We value and respect the human rights of every member of our community. We have a responsibility to make sure human rights are always being upheld, both in Merri-bek and the wider community.
The Merri-bek Human Rights Policy sets out what we will do over 10 years to support human rights.
Read the Merri-bek Human Rights Policy (PDF 5KB)
Merri-bek Human Rights Policy (DOC 1MB)
There are specific groups of people who are at greater risk of discrimination, which impacts their social, economic and political life. These are:
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities
- migrant and refugee communities
- people with disability
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Gender Diverse, Intersex, Queer and Asexual and Aromantic (LGBTIQA+) communities
Our Policy recognises these groups and gives priority to their needs. The policy also allows us to consider future needs of different groups.
We aim to always deliver programs, services and processes that are accessible, fair and inclusive. Our policy helps us do this.
The Human Rights Policy:
- helps us meet our human rights obligations in a real way
- recognises that many people face more than one form of discrimination, and this makes things more complex
- encourages better use of resources by working with others on local, shared priorities across different areas.
Victoria's Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities
Our Human Rights Policy has the same aims as Victoria's Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006. This Act sets out the basic rights, freedoms and responsibilities of all people in Victoria. It is about the relationship between government and the people it serves. It says that governments, local councils and other public authorities need to consider human rights when they make laws, develop policies or provide services.
The following organisations provide more information on human rights in Australia:
- Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission
- Australian Human Rights Commission
- Human Rights Law Centre
For more information contact our Community Development and Social Policy Unit on 9240 1111.
Gender equality means that people of all genders enjoy equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities. Promoting gender equality prevents family violence and other forms of gender-based violence.
Our Gender Equality Commitment means that we will promote equality and inclusion in the Merri-bek community through collaboration across Council and partnerships with organisations and people in the community.
We consulted with the community in 2018 to 2019 and identified 7 key action areas in the following years to promote mote gender equality:
- Equal visibility, self representation and leadership opportunities
- Accessible and safe public spaces, including for sports and recreation
- Equal pay for equal work
- Safe and affordable housing
- Access to formal and community education
- Empowering everyone to support the Gender Equality Commitment
Action Plan Progress
We create action plans as a way of guiding progress on our commitments. The Action Plan 2019-2021 is our way of making sure we meet these 7 commitments. We are currently implementing this Plan and you can read the Action Plan Progress Update.
Please email Merri-bek Gender Equality or phone 9240 1111 to learn more.
The following resources and related policies provide further information on our commitment to gender equality.
- Gender Equality Commitment - Summary
- Gender Equality Commitment - full version
- Active Women and Girls Strategy
Family violence prevention and support
We are committed to preventing family violence in Merri-bek and supporting those who have experienced it. Family violence is against the law, and there is never an excuse for it.
Although domestic and family violence can happen to anyone, the evidence shows that in most cases in Victoria, family violence is perpetrated by men against women.
The Victorian Family Violence Protection Act 2008 says family violence as any behaviour towards another family member that is:
- physically or sexual abusive
- emotionally or psychologically abusive
- financially abusive
- coercive, controlling or dominating
Family violence can happen in all kinds of relationships, including:
- intimate relationships (involving partners, boyfriends and girlfriends, husband and wife, ex-partners)
- parents or guardians and children (child abuse)
- older people and their carers or children (elder abuse)
- parents and their teenage or adult children (adolescent family violence)
- people with disabilities and their carers.
If you are experiencing family violence, there is help available. If you or someone you know needs emergency help, you should call 000.
Below, we have listed support services that are available to help you or anyone you know.
The following services are available for you if you identify as a woman.
Berry Street Northern Family and Domestic Violence Service
This service provides family violence support for women in the northern region. You can find out more about the service on the Berry Street website.
To contact this service call 9540 4700 between 9am to 5pm on weekdays, except public holidays.
Safe Steps Family Violence Response Centre
This service provides family violence support for women in Victoria, including outreach and accommodation help. You can find out more about these centres on the Safe Steps website.
Safe Steps also has a specialist Disability Family Violence Program which you can learn about on the Safe Steps website.
To contact this service call 1800 015 188 any time or day, or use their online chat tool between 9am and 9pm from Monday to Friday on the Safe Steps website.
Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA)
The Centre Against Sexual Assault (CASA) is a Victorian sexual assault crisis response service that includes counselling. You can find out more about this service on the CASA website.
To contact this service call 9635 3610 between 9am and 9pm from Monday to Friday, or call 1800 806 292 outside of business hours.
Djirra Aboriginal Women Support Service
Djirra Aboriginal Women Support Service provides services to Aboriginal women in Victoria, including those who have experienced family violence. You can find out more about this service on the Djirra website.
To contact this service call 1800 105 303 between 9am and 5pm on weekdays, except public holidays.
InTouch (Multicultural Centre against Family Violence)
InTouch (Multicultural Centre against Family Violence) provides culturally appropriate family violence services throughout Victoria. InTouch also provides immigration support. You can find out more about this service on the InTouch website.
To contact this service call 1800 755 988 between 9am and 5pm on weekdays, except public holidays.
The following services are available for you if you identify as a man.
Mens Line Australia
Mens Line Australia is a national telephone and online counselling, information and referral service for men with family, mental health or relationship issues. You can find out more about this service on the Men's Line Australia website.
To contact this service call 1300 78 99 78 or use their online phone and counselling service that is available any time or day on the Men's Line Australia website.
Men’s Referral Service
Men’s Referral Service is a men's family violence telephone counselling, information and referral service. You can find out more about this service on the No to Violence website.
To contact this service call 1300 766 491 between 8am and 9pm on weekdays, or between 9am and 5pm on weekends.
Dardi Munwurro Strong Spirit Aboriginal Men's Crisis Support
Dardi Munwurro Strong Spirit Aboriginal Men's Crisis Support provides family violence, healing and behaviour change programs for Aboriginal men. Its aim is to break the cycle of inter-generational trauma in Aboriginal families and communities. You can find out more about this service on the Dardi Minwurro website.
To contact this service call 1800 435 799 any time or day.
The following services are available for people of all genders, as well as those who do not identify within the gender binary.
Victims Assistance Program
The Victims Assistance Program provides help for people who have experienced violence, as well as family members and partners of people who have been victim of crime or violence. You can find out more about this service on the Merri Health website.
To contact this service you can email email@example.com or call 1300 362 739 between 9am and 5pm on weekdays, except public holidays. You can also call their helpline on 1800 819 817 between 8am and 11pm every day.
With Respect is a family violence and intimate partner violence service for LGBTIQ+ communities and their families. It can respond to both the person impacted by violence and the person perpetrating violence. More information about this service is available on the With Respect website.
To contact this service you can call 1800 LGBTIQ (1800 542 847) between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.
Hume Merri-bek Integrated Family Violence Program
The Hume Merri-bek Integrated Family Violence Program provides family violence support to all people, including counselling and support programs. You can find out more about this service on the Uniting Victoria and Tasmania website.
To contact this service call 9302 6100 between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.
Northern Community Legal Centre
The Northern Community Legal Centre provides free and confidential legal advice and assistance to people who live, work, or study in Merri-bek, Hume or Mitchell Shire. More information about this service is available on the Northern Community Legal Center website.
To contact this service call 9310 4376 between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.
The following services are available for seniors.
Seniors Rights Victoria
Seniors Rights Victoria provides information, advice and support to prevent and respond to elder abuse. Find out more about this service on the Seniors Rights website.
To contact this service call 1300 368 821 between 10am and 5pm on weekdays.
Elder Abuse Prevention Network
The Elder Abuse Prevention Network for north and west metropolitan regions aims to stop elder abuse through education, resources and campaigns. Find out more about this service on the Merri Health website.
To contact this service call 1300 637 744.
The following services are available for family violence phone counselling support.
1800 RESPECT is a national telephone and online sexual assault, domestic and family violence counselling service. Find out more about this service on the 1800RESPECT website.
To contact this service call 1800 737 732 any time or day.
Kids Helpline is a phone, email and webchat counselling service for 5 to 25 year olds. Find out more about this service on the Kids Helpline website.
To contact this service call 1800 551 800 any time or day, or use their online WebChat counselling service on the Kids Helpline website.
As part of our gender equality commitment, we partner with organisations across Victoria, the north and Merri-bek to prevent family violence. These organisations include:
Our commitment to gender equality means that we will always work to prevent family violence. Our Gender Equality Commitment is guided by the following policies, from all levels of government:
- The Australian Government Department of Social Service'sNational Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010‑20
- The Victorian Government'sFree from Violence - Victoria’s strategy to prevent family violence (PDF)
- The Victorian Government's Ending Family Violence: Victoria’s Plan for Change
- The Victorian Government'sSafe and Strong, A Victorian Gender Equality Strategy
- Our Human Rights Policy (PDF)
The following resources are available for parents:
- Choosing Positive Paths gives mothers, other protective parents and caregivers information on how to help children affected by family violence. Find out more about this program on the Berry Street website.
- Koori parenting resources from the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service include booklets, posters and postcards with messages and strategies to help break intergenerational cycles of trauma within their families. Find out more about these resources on the Victorian Aboriginal Health Service website.
The following resources are available for young people:
- Rosie is an online space for young women to find digital resources to help navigate life. Find out more about this onlien space on the Rosie website.
- What’s OK at Home (WOAH) is a website for young people their adult allies about family violence, why it happens, how to recognise it, and how to help others experiencing it. Find otu more about this resource on the WOAH website.
The following resources are available for migrants, refugees and faith communities:
- Family Safety Pack containing fact sheets in 46 community languages. This resource has information about Australia’s domestic and family violence, sexual assault and forced marriage laws. You can find out more about this resource on the Department of Social Services website.
- The Australian Muslim Women's Centre for Human Rights have many resources available in different langauges. Their resources include a Islam and Muslims oppose violence against women guide (PDF) for Muslim women who have experienced family violence and for Muslims to inform themselves and their community about family violence. You can find out more about these resourceson the Australian Muslim Women's Centre for Human Rights website.
- The Multicultural Centre for Women's Health (MCWH) have a Multilingual Library Catalogue for resources, including about family violence. You can find out more about this resource on the MCWH website.
- Family Violence Help Card provides Help Cards in English, Vietnamese and Chinese. You can access this resource on the Buddhist Council of Victoria website.
- Multi-language family violence posters available in different langauges inform community members about support services that are available in the northern metropolitan region. These posters are available in English, Arabic, Farsi, Chinese, Hindi, Turkish and Vietnamese. You can find this resource on the Northern Integrated Family Violence Services Partnership website.
- Family violence: what police do - multi-lingual fact sheets explain Victoria Police's response to family violence in a range of langauges. You can access this resource on the Victoria Police website.
The following resources are available for Aboriginal communities:
- Djirra organisation's Family Violence Fact Sheets (PDF)
- The Elizabeth Morgan House Aboriginal Women's Service'sFacts on Family Violence in Aboriginal Communities 2019 (PDF)
The following resources are available for people with disability:
- Our Right to Safety and Respect is a video resource and video guide, developed by and for women with disabilities about violence, abuse, safety and respect. You can access this vieo resource on the Women with disabilities Victoria website.
- Speak up and be safe from abuse is a toolkit to assist people with communication difficulties to identify and report abuse. You can access this toolkit on the Speak up and be safe website.
Merri-bek is proud of the large and diverse Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual plus, Transgender and Gender Diverse, Queer, Asexual and Aromantic and Intersex (LGBTIQA+) communities that call our city home.
Council celebrates LGBTIQA+ communities throughout the year with a range of events and programs. While also working with local service providers, networks and our reference group to make our services, programs and spaces inclusive for LGBTIQA+ communites.
Our Human Rights Policy also aims to create a safe and welcoming city for LGBTIQA+ communites. We will always make sure that services in Merri-bek are accessible to our LGBTIQA+ residents and visitors.
We celebrate and support LGBTIQA+ visibility by flying a number of flags throughout the year:
- Progress Rainbow flag: Everyday through November – February. IDAHOBIT May 17
Transgender flag: Trans Day of Visibility, March 31. Trans Day of Remembrance, November 20
Intersex Flag: Intersex Awareness Day, October 26. Intersex Solidarity Day, November 8
The International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia calls on people across Australia to stand against discrimination and support our LGBTIQ mates, colleagues and families. IDAHOBIT Day takes place on 17 May.
Midsumma is Victoria's premier three-week LGBTIQ arts and cultural festival celebrating diversity and inclusion. It takes place in January and February across the state. We partner with northern region councils and have a presence at Midsumma Carnival and Pride March.
Diversity Days are all about celebrating or honouring LGBTIQ days of significance, and increasing awareness of the LGBTIQ community’s rich and fabulous diversity. Pride in Sport provides a list of each of the days for your business, club and team to learn more about the days or to be able to discuss them with your stakeholders to help increase awareness about upcoming days.
You can search the events calendar to find more events happening in Merri-bek.
Below is a list of resources that will help you learn more about LGBTIQA+ history and culture. Check out our range of training and professional development materials, and apply for funding support.
Our libraries have an extensive collection of LGBTIQ resources. Visit our libraries or search the Library Catalogue
A handy guide that provides advice on respectful language to use when working with LBGTIQ communities. Developed by the Department of Premier and Cabinet for the Victorian public sector.
The Merri-bek Community Grants Program gives financial support to community led initiatives and collaborative projects that have multiple benefits and focus directly on the Merri-bek community.
The newly established Victorian Pride Centre website and the Resource Directory lists many LGBTIQ inclusive services and programs organised by category and location.
Find out how you can create a safe and inclusive sports club for everyone.
A collection of resources on intersex variations.
Intersex awareness day resources (PDF)
Switchboard – Community based not for profit organisation that provides peer driven, support services for LGBTIQA+ communities.
Rainbow Door - free, specialist LGBTIQA+ helpline. Experienced peers provide information, referral, and support to enable LGBTIQA+ people, their friends, and their families to navigate the system and access the supports they need within a safe environment. 1800 729 367
Qlife - QLife provides Australia-wide anonymous, LGBTI peer support and referral for people wanting to talk about a range of issues including sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships. 1300 555 727
Intersex Human Rights Australia – A national charity by and for people with innate variations of sex characteristics.
Transgender Victoria – The leading peak body for trans and gender diverse people in Victoria.
Bi Alliance – Volunteer run, not for profit organisation dedicated to promoting the acceptance of bisexuals* in LGBTIQA+ and mainstream societies.
Australian Asexuals – Network of Asexual and Aromantic groups from across Australia.
Koorie Pride Victoria - building visibility, strength and connection for Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander LGBTIQAS&B+ people - across all of Victoria.
Pacifique X - Celebrates Pacific Island LGBTIQA+ communities and allies by providing brave spaces, capacity building, meaningful connection whilst honouring cultural and gender identities.
Many Coloured Sky – Queer refugee and asylum seeker peers - QRASP is a growing community of LGBTQI+ refugees and people seeking asylum. Providing peer led support and range of activities including excursions and workshops.
Thorne Harbour Health – Is a leading LGBTIQA+ health organisation that provides HIV/AIDS support and other care services.
Public health and wellbeing plan
Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plans are required by the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008. Councils need to prepare a plan within 12 months after each local election.
The vision for 2017-21 is that 'Moreland is a healthy, liveable and sustainable city'.
There are two focus areas in the Plan - Healthy Communities and Liveable Neighbourhoods. Through these focus areas, we aim to deliver long term outcomes for the Merri-bek community.
- Merri-bek Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2017-21
- Merri-bek Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2017-21
If you would like a hard copy of the Municipal Public Health and Wellbeing Plan 2017-21 or if you have any queries, please contact the Community Wellbeing Officer on 9240 1111.
Health and wellbeing profile
The Merri-bek Health and Wellbeing Profile 2020 was updated in December 2020.
In collaboration with our external partners we use the Profile to help guide our long-term planning for the community.
You can download the health and wellbeing profile below:
If you have questions about the research we have done for the Health and Wellbeing Profile, please contact the Research Coordinator on 9240 1111.
If gambling is a problem for you or someone you know contact:
- Gambler's Help - free, confidential, 24/7 by phone 1800 858 858
- Gambler's Help Youthline - online support or by phone on 1800 262 376
Gambling in Merri-bek Strategy 2015-2020
We are committed to reducing the harmful impacts of gambling on our community. Gambling in Merri-bek 2015-2020 sets out how we will do this. We have identified electronic gaming machines and pokies as a source of great harm for communities and individuals based on:
- the level of gambling losses in Merri-bek
- the number of people with problem gambling behaviours who play pokies.
We are a foundation partner of the National Alliance for Gambling Reform. As a partner, we call for stronger industry controls to protect consumers and reduce the damage that gambling products can bring to families and communities.
Gambling Harm Awareness Week runs yearly and is hosted by the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation
During Gambling Harm Reduction Week, people are encouraged to:
- talk about the effect gambling is having on health and wellbeing
- share stories to connect with others, enhance mental health, and build resilience
- seek support for gambling harm, or offer support to someone experiencing gambling harm.
Part of being supported in your community is feeling safe as you move around it. We want everyone in Merri-bek, whether they are a resident of visitor, to feel safe at all times.
What do we do to keep our community safe?
We have taken the following steps to improve community safety.
We meet with Victoria Police every month to discuss issues around public safety. We also meet with licensed venues on Sydney Road to talk about keeping the public safe.
There are 9 CCTV cameras along Sydney Road Brunswick. These were set up in September 2014. The cameras are connected to the Brunswick Police Station and are fully operational 24 hours a day. Victoria Police officers and employees have been trained to operate the new CCTV camera system.
The installation of CCTV security cameras was a more complex and lengthy process than we first thought. Learn about the progress of this project through the Moreland Council CCTV timeline. Download a map of Brunswick CCTV locations.
In 2015, nearly 3000 local street and laneway lights were converted to LED in Brunswick, Brunswick East and Brunswick West. In 2016, we signed a contract with Jemena, which manages street lights north of Merri-bek Road. An additional 5500 street lights were changed to LEDs in these suburbs. These streets are now much, much brighter.
These new LED lights also reduce carbon emissions and reduce both the electricity and maintenance cost for us and the community.
Our goal is to light up the whole Upfield Bike Path and to get more people cycling.
Download a map of Upfield Bike Path lighting upgrades.
We have installed illuminated late-night taxi ranks in Sydney Road, Brunswick to make it safer for you to get a taxi at night. These taxi ranks are available on Friday and Saturday nights, from 10pm–7am, and will provide a well-lit space to wait.
You can find these taxi ranks at:
- Eastbound: Brunswick Road, Brunswick, immediately west of Sydney Road
- Southbound: 108-132 Sydney Road, Brunswick, near McDonalds
- Northbound: 165-173 Sydney Road, Brunswick, near The Cornish Arms Hotel
- Southbound: 412-420 Sydney Road, Brunswick, near The Penny Black and The Mess Hall
You can download the Illuminated taxi rank locations map to see where these spots are located.
Housing, food and employment relief
Emergency housing relief updates
Due to the current pandemic, some people in Merri-bek and the wider community have needed housing support. The following measures have been taken to provide this.
If you are experiencing homelessness or are in immediate crisis there are a number of services that can assist you to find safe housing.
For assistance, contact:
- VincentCare Victoria Northern Community Hub in Glenroy by calling 9304 0100
- You can speak to a housing support worker by calling 1800 825 955 any time. This number directs your call to a service closest to you, or if the call is outside business hours, it is directed to Salvation Army Crisis Services.
If you are experiencing hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic, you may be eligible for emergency support. Financial assistance, care and food packages are available from the Victorian Government.
Find out about what support is available to you on the Victorian Government's Coronavirus website.
You can call the Victorian Government's 24 hour COVID-19 hotline to find out more information on 1800 675 398.
We have a dedicated phone line and email address for residents to contact if they need support as a result of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
You can speak to us about the support you need by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling us on 8311 4140 between 9am and 5pm on weekdays.
There are a number of services that provide food parcels to Victorians who need them. Click on the heading below that best suits your needs and find a service. To find out more about food security in Merri-bek visit our food access and security page.
Pantry storage foods (tinned and packet dry goods) are available by contacting:
- the Salvation Army - for all services in Merri-bek, including the asylum seeker and refugee centre call 8873 5288
- Our Daily Bread, Greek Orthodox Church - email email@example.com
- Muslim Women's Council of Victoria halal food releif boxes - call 0483881899
- NorthPoint Centre Community Hub - call 9338 1898
- Community Information and Support Merri-bek - call 9350 3737
- Reynard Street Neighbourhood House Community Pantry, Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays 12 - 3pm - call 9386 7128
Pantry storage and fresh foods (cold storage) are available by contacting:
- St Vincents de Paul Society - call 1800 305 330
Cooked meals for collection are available by contacting:
- Brunswick Salvos for food parcels and takeaway hot meals - call 9388 5500
- Moreland Manna for takeaway, warm meals, coffee, tea, bread and light morning tea - call 0416 378 748
- Open Table at Fawkner Senior Citizen's Centre, 77 Jukes Road, every second Saturday - call 0403 218 123
- Free community lunch at Brunswick Neighbourhood House, 43a De Carle Street on the second Thursday of the month 12pm - call 9386 9418
Moreland's Meals on Wheels provide cooked meals for delivery. You can call 9240 2302 to access this service.
Moreland's Meals on Wheels is available for:
- People over the age of 65
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 50
- Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the age of 45 who are on low income, are homeless or at risk of homelessness
- People on low income and people who are homeless or at risk of homelessness over the age of 50
Emergency relief and food vouchers are available through:
- Community Information and Support Merri-bek - call 9350 3737
- The Salvation Army for food vouchers, bill payments and pharmacy payments - call 8873 5288
- St Vincent de Paul - 1800 305 330
- The Salvation Army Asylum Seeker and Refugee Service - 9384 8333
- Brunswick Salvos - 9388 5500
Fruit and vegetables at a reduced cost are available through:
- Merri Food Hub, Fawkner Senior Citizens Centre, 77 Jukes Road every Friday 10am - 4pm go to the Open Food Network website
- CERES Joe’s Market Garden (low cost vegetable box pick up) - go to the Open Food Network website.