Secured Spent Convictions Scheme for criminal records in Victoria.
Fiona Patten introduced the Spent Convictions Bill in February, 2019.
The purpose of the Bill was to provide for the expungement of certain offences from a person’s record where that person has not re-offended.
After negotiating with the Andrews Government, an inquiry was ordered to make spent convictions a reality in Victoria.
The motion put by Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council, Gavin Jennings on the 2nd of May 2019, referred the issue of Spent Convictions to a short Parliamentary Inquiry to consider the design of a framework.
The Legal and Social Issues Committee, chaired by Ms Patten considered issues like the offence types that should be excluded from the scheme and what type of criminal records are capable of becoming spent.
The Committee reported on the 27th of August 2019, recommending a framework for Controlled Disclosure of Criminal Record Information (CDCRI) for Victoria.
Key recommendations of the report include:
- Police, courts and prescribed employers and other third parties are exempt from the framework.
- Sexual and serious violent offences to remain subject to disclosure.
- Where a person is convicted of a crime resulting in a maximum prison sentence of 12 to less than 30 months and after a crime free period of five to ten years for adult offenders (three to five years for juvenile offenders), that conviction is no longer disclosed.
- Penalties to be imposed for unlawful disclosure of a person’s protected criminal record or for threatening to disclose a person’s protected criminal record.
The Government not only responded to the report, but agreed to introduce a Spent Convictions Scheme for Victoria.
That legislation passed the Victorian Parliament on 18 March 2021. It creates the Spent Conviction Scheme.
The majority of the Spent Convictions Scheme started on 1 December 2021.
This scheme provides rules about when a person’s criminal history can be disclosed. For some kinds of convictions, if a person does not reoffend again for a period of time, disclosure will be protected. When this happens, the conviction is described as being ‘spent’.
It is hoped that offenders will gain a second chance to get on with their life without the stigma of a mistake that they made years ago.
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