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Law Institute of Victoria welcomes criminal records reform

Law Institute of Victoria welcomes criminal records reform

By LIV Media


Legislation to ensure old criminal offences do not have to be disclosed for minor offences will help support rehabilitation of people in the community, according to the Law Institute of Victoria.

LIV president Sam Pandya said it was a welcome move that historic convictions would not impact on them for the rest of their lives.

“If a person has been of good character and not reoffended for a period of up to 10 years, it is only fair that they should be able to get on with the lives without having to disclose old offences every time they apply for a job or volunteer role,” Mr Pandya said.

“The law reform recognised that people can be rehabilitated, and should be able to seek employment, apply for housing and volunteer their time without old convictions coming back to haunt them,” he said.

The LIV and other legal organisations have campaigned for a spent convictions scheme for several years. Victoria is the only state not to have a legislated scheme, which has resulted in individuals being discriminated against when they apply for jobs, volunteering roles or even house insurance.

Currently, any crime of which a person has been found guilty, even in cases of non-conviction, remains on their record indefinitely.

With the 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.

Mr Pandya said the current policy leaves young and Indigenous Victorians particularly subject to discrimination.

“These groups are disproportionately represented in the criminal justice system. They are appearing for often minor offences such as possession of cannabis, shoplifting, or using a concession Myki card without a concession card, with is considered to be fraud.”

Mr Pandya said the LIV was pleased that a number of recommendations from its 2015 submission to then Attorney-General Martin Pakula have been supported, including the recommendations that findings of guilt without conviction and less serious and irrelevant convictions would be removed from a person’s criminal record after a period of up to 10 years. The LIV also addressed the Parliamentary Inquiry into the proposed bill last year, chaired by Reason Party’s Fiona Patten.

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