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LIV urges parliament to support Spent Convictions Bill

LIV urges parliament to support Spent Convictions Bill

By LIV Media

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The Law Institute of Victoria urges parliament to support the Spent Convictions Bill, introduced last week by Reason Party MP Fiona Patten. LIV president Stuart Webb said if the Bill was passed, it would remove the stigma of spent convictions.

The LIV has long advocated for a spent convictions scheme to be legislated in Victoria. All Australian states and territories as well as the Commonwealth have spent convictions legislation in place. Victoria is the only state in Australia without spent conviction provisions.

Currently, any crime of which a person has been found guilty, even in cases of non-conviction, remains on their record indefinitely. With the continued growth of criminal history checks, those with minor convictions on their records are subjected to discrimination that job seekers in other states are not subject to.

LIV president Stuart Webb says the current policy leaves young and indigenous Victorians particularly susceptible to discrimination. These groups are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system, often for minor offences such as possession of cannabis, minor shop stealing, or using a concession Myki card without possessing a concession card – which is considered to be fraud.

“We are pleased that a number of recommendations from the LIV’s 2015 submission to the Attorney General have been incorporated in the Bill, including the recommendation that findings of guilt without conviction and less serious and irrelevant convictions would be removed from a person’s criminal record after 10 years.

“We urge parliament to support this Bill. If passed, this law will help prevent discrimination and remove obstacles which prevent some former offenders from seeking rehabilitation, gaining employment and participating in their communities,” he said.

The LIV remains committed to working collaboratively with government and relevant stakeholders on any proposed Victorian legislative framework implementing a spent convictions scheme.

 


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