Liberty Victoria strongly condemns the serious breach of privacy by Victoria Police that has led to images of a former AFL player being published by the media and circulated online.
Victorians should feel confident that their privacy will be protected by Victoria Police when they interact with police.
The release of the photos, which include a mug shot and photographs of sensitive Victoria Police records, is a serious violation of Laidley’s human rights, and will likely impact public confidence in Victoria Police’s approach to privacy.
The significance of the breach is reflected in the fact that this may be a breach of the Victoria Police Act, which makes it a criminal offence for a member of the police force to release private information in some circumstances.
Liberty Victoria also condemns the transphobia that appears to have underpinned the release of these images. It appears that these images were released with the intention of publicly “outing” Laidley. Members of transgender and gender-non-conforming communities routinely report feeling distrustful towards police, and this incident will only further their concerns.
We hope that there will be an independent investigation of this incident beyond the internal investigation that has already been announced.
It is important to note that Laidley has not made any statement about their preferred names or correct pronouns. We echo the calls of others, such as the LGBTIQ Legal Service, for the media and the public to use respectful and gender-neutral language when reporting the case, and to consider the impact of their reporting on a community that already experiences substantial discrimination.