A Spent Convictions Scheme for Victoria

Secured a framework for the Controlled Disclosure of Criminal Record Information in Victoria.

Fiona Patten introduced the Bill Spent Convictions Bill in February, 2019.

The purpose of Ms Patten’s 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 must respond to the report by 27th of February, when they will likely move to present a Bill based on the report’s recommendations and their own thorough investigation. This will bring Victoria into line with every other jurisdiction in Australia, which already have a framework in place.

It is expected that by encouraging offenders to rehabilitate themselves and deterring them from re-offending, a framework of CDCRI will lead to better employment outcomes – improving health, reducing criminality and reducing the burden on the state.

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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