Submission to Inquiry into Drug Law Reform
Standing Committee on Legal and Social Issues
Parliament House, Spring St
EAST MELBOURNE VIC 3002
Endorsement of the Abolitionist and Transformative Justice Centre’s (ATJC) submission
Dear Committee Secretary,
Melbourne Activist Legal Support (MALS) welcomes the opportunity to endorse the Abolitionist and Transformative Justice Centre’s submission to the Committee’s Inquiry into Drug Law Reform.
MALS observes, documents and reports on police and civilian engagement and harmful policing practices through its work supporting activists to defend their own civil and political rights to protest in the State of Victoria.
This endorsement focuses on the section of ATJC’s submission detailing how harmful police practices may increase the likelihood of drug-related harm in the community.
ATJC’s submission recommends:
- That there be recognition of the harmful effects of policing on community-based harm reduction methods.
- That police participate in meaningful harm reduction that guarantees safety for drug users, safeguarded by law and not just reliant on policy.
MALS makes a further submission that “meaningful harm reduction” extends to include banning the use of drug detection dogs and strip searches at music and arts festivals.
Research has shown that 30% of people when seeing drug detection dogs at an event consumed all of their drugs at once to avoid detection, leading to a higher risk of overdose.1 The same study also found that searches had a very low success rate and research participants commented that police interactions left them feeling anxious and humiliated.2
Based on the research undertaken by advocates working with criminalised people subjected to strip searches, MALS submits that strip searches are particularly invasive and troubling for women and gender diverse people and have proved not to be successful at preventing drug related harm.3
If you have any questions in relation this endorsement or seek further advice from MALS please contact Katia Lallo, Collective Member, by e-mail.
Melbourne Activist Legal Support