10 November 2023
Public intoxication reform
CMY fully supports the recent changes to public drunkenness laws in Victoria, which came into effect on 7 November 2023, meaning it is no longer a criminal offence to be intoxicated in a public place.
This shift from a justice response to a health-led response is one CMY has advocated for. It is a significant milestone in our collective efforts to reform the justice system and address the over-policing of vulnerable communities, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and overrepresented multicultural communities.
We extend our heartfelt recognition to the Day family for their relentless advocacy in memory of Aunty Tanya Day, driving these life-saving changes. This reform will have a profound impact on some of the young people we work with and their families and hopefully will result in less people, including young people, being criminalised by the system.
However, as we transition from a law and order response to a health response, we would like to emphasise the need for increased attention in key areas, such as addressing the vulnerability of young people under 25, and the standard practice of using quality interpreters, especially for those from multicultural backgrounds or with language barriers, to assess their health needs and provide appropriate support and services.
For more information about the public intoxication reform and what it means for the community, see the Victorian Government Department of Health page on it here.