Research reports

Predatory behaviour by Victoria Police officers against vulnerable persons

This intelligence report examines key trends and issues in sexual predatory behaviour by police against vulnerable persons in the community.

Police perform a vital function, serving the community and the law to ensure a safe, secure and orderly society. Frontline police perform their duties in often difficult circumstances, coming into contact with members of the community who are under stress, vulnerable and sometimes unpredictable due to mental health or drug issues, and in times of crisis.

To help keep our community safe, police officers are entrusted with significant powers that can be exercised often with discretion over their fellow citizens. The exercise of these powers can be vulnerable to misuse; damaging to both the individuals involved and the broader community.

This report examines circumstances where it is alleged that some Victoria Police officers have misused the power and trust placed in them to sexually exploit vulnerable persons whom they have met in the course of their duties. Such predatory behaviour by a small minority of officers can have devastating impacts on victims while undermining the crucial work of the vast majority of their colleagues.

It is recognised that predatory behaviour by police against vulnerable persons is in all likelihood underreported. It is hoped that the publication of this report will raise the profile of the issue and encourage persons who have been victimised by this behaviour to have the confidence to come forward.