Until earlier this year, Victoria was the only Australian state that did not have a state based
spent convictions scheme. This meant that all offences/convictions were lawful to be
disclosed as part of National Police Checks, regardless of the type of offence or how much
time had elapsed.
Victoria’s Spent Convictions Act 2021 commenced on 1 December 2021, creating a Spent
Conviction Scheme for Victoria.
This has brought about changes to the Victoria Police Information Release Policy that impact
the way an individual’s criminal history information can be used and disclosed such as what
can be released on a police record check.
What is a Spent Convictions Scheme?
In short, a “spent conviction” means that under certain circumstances (including the severity
of the conviction, the time since the conviction and whether any other crimes have been
committed) a conviction may be considered “spent” and not be released as part of a
police check. This also gives the Applicant a right of non-disclosure (the right not to tell
another person or authority about their conviction).
Examples of the changes, according to the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC):
- Convictions with a sentencing outcome of 30 months or less will be eligible to be spent automatically after a 10-year crime-free period for adults and 5 years for young people.
- Non-conviction outcomes and convictions for offences committed when a person was
under the age of 15 will be spent immediately from the date of a person’s conviction.
- Full criminal histories will continue to be disclosed to police, courts and other law
enforcement agencies for the administration of the justice system and to protect community
- Criminal charges where a court has not yet made a decision (pending charges) or
information relating to an ongoing investigation by police, or a finding of not guilty by reason
of mental impairment will in most circumstances not be released.
- The Spent Conviction Act will only apply to disclosure for standard employment Police
Keep an eye out for future fact sheets / guidelines that will be published via the Department
of Justice and Community Safety.