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When does the past stop catching up with you?

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The College of Law Victoria

Level 6

459 Little Collins Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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'Do I need to disclose my criminal conviction?' With Victoria Police processing over 690,000 criminal history checks in the 2015-16 financial year, this is a question that many Victorians will need to ask themselves at some stage in their lives. Unfortunately, the answer is not so straightforward.

Currently, Victoria is the only Australian jurisdiction without a legislated spent convictions scheme. Rather, the release of a person's criminal history is governed by Victoria Police's Information Release Policy. This Policy is not consistent with the existing spent convictions schemes in other states and territories, and places Victorians at a significant disadvantage. Chiefly, the Policy does not distinguish between sentences imposed with conviction and those imposed without conviction, nor does it prevent the disclosure of charges for which a person is yet to be found guilty.

The stigma of a criminal record can impact a person more than a sentence itself, and can filter into all aspects of their lives; it can restrict their employment and volunteering opportunities, and ability to obtain licences and insurance.

Given the increasing prominence that criminal history checks are assuming in the context of employment, the panel discussion aims to revive the conversation about desirability of legislating a spent convictions scheme in Victoria.

The panel will be made up of distinguished academics, politicians and legal practitioners, who will consider:

  • the current framework governing the disclosure of a person's criminal history;

  • the nature of discrimination on the basis of a criminal record;

  • the human rights implications of the current framework, particularly with reference to the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006 (Vic); and

  • options for reform, including the advantages and disadvantages of a legislated spent convictions scheme.

Audience members will be encouraged to ask questions during the Q&A.

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The College of Law Victoria

Level 6

459 Little Collins Street

Melbourne, VIC 3000

Australia

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