Street-based sex work is now a legal activity in Victoria.
The Sex Work Decriminalisation Bill 2021 was passed by the Victorian Parliament on 22 February 2022. The laws recognise that sex work is legitimate work and should be regulated through standard business laws and existing agencies such as WorkSafe, the Department of Health and local governments, like all other industries in the state.
Under the Act, solicitation and loitering for the purposes of street-based sex work is legal except where it occurs near or within view of a place of worship, school, education or care service premise or other children’s services premises between the hours of 6 am and 7 pm. Sexual activity in public places remains prohibited.
There are many reasons why a person might decide to undertake street-based sex work. Some choose to make it their profession, others may feel that they have few other options due to issues such as addiction, insecure housing or homelessness, violence or exploitation.
Council works in collaboration with local police and community services providers to manage the impact of street-based sex work on our local community. There are also a number of agencies within Stonnington and neighbouring municipalities that offer support to sex workers and reduce the harm associated with street-based sex work.
Rh provides a range of services and programs that support people who have worked in any area of the sex industry. Services include health, legal and peer support programs and the RhED Pathways program helps clients with things many people take for granted such as doctor’s appointments and finding a safe place to sleep.
St Kilda Gatehouse
St Kilda Gatehouse is a not-for-profit organisation that provides spaces of belonging and safety for young women and girls involved in street-based sex work or who are affected by sexual exploitation - many of whom are tackling complex issues such as addiction, homelessness, mental illness, poverty, domestic violence, abuse and social isolation.
St Kilda Gatehouse provides opportunities for individuals to experience social inclusion with respect and unconditional acceptance.
St Kilda Legal Service
St Kilda Legal Service is a community-based organisation that provides free services to residents in the cities of Port Phillip, Stonnington and Bayside. The Service is staffed by lawyers, community workers and volunteers.
The St Kilda Legal Service’s drug outreach lawyer works closely with sex workers who face legal issues, and with organisations dedicated to assisting these workers.
Additional services provided to the community include legal advice, information and referrals and casework services as well as a series of legal education programs through talks, information sessions and fact sheets on common legal issues.
They also provide a drug and alcohol outreach service.
Sacred Heart Mission - Womens’ House
Sacred Heart Mission’s Women’s House offers a safe and welcoming space for women seeking support on a range of issues including those engaged in street-based sex work. Services offered include free meals, laundry and shower facilities, internet access and a range of life-skills workshops.
Support workers provide assistance and referrals for issues ranging from housing and counselling to drug and alcohol support, as well as parenting advice and case management.
Who to contact if you have concerns
Concerns regarding illegal activity such as sex trafficking, coercion, criminal actions and community safety should be referred to the Police. Call 131 444 for non-urgent crimes and events or 000 for emergencies.
Concerns regarding public amenity can be reported to Council by phoning 03 8290 1333 or via a service request online.