May 24, 2019 |
The Victorian Legislative Council’s Legal and Social Issues Committee has commenced a public inquiry into a legislated spent convictions scheme for Victoria.
Under the inquiry’s terms of reference, the Committee will consider the need for and potential impact of such a scheme, including the types of criminal records that should be capable of being spent and the mechanism by which convictions become spent.
“Victoria is currently the only state in Australia which doesn’t have a spent convictions scheme and this inquiry will examine the design of such a scheme for our state,” said Committee Chair Fiona Patten.
“An important focus for us will be the disadvantage that particular groups in the community suffer due to past convictions, including young people and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people,” Ms Patten said.
The Committee is inviting written submissions from those who have information that can address the terms of reference for the inquiry.
“We are keen to hear from people and organisations with experience and expertise in the justice system so that we can consider the type of scheme that will best suit Victoria,” Ms Patten said.
“At the same time we want to hear from people who understand the impacts of not having a spent convictions scheme in Victoria, so we can take their experiences and views into account in making our recommendations,” she said.
Among the issues the Committee will be considering are any ‘crime-free period’ that should apply before a conviction may be spent and the effect of subsequent convictions during the crime-free period.
The Committee will also be examining the consequences of a conviction becoming spent, as well as any offences and penalties that should apply for non-compliance with the scheme.
“We are required to report to Parliament in August this year so this inquiry will be focused sharply towards achieving a workable outcome for Victoria,” Ms Patten said.
Submissions can be made until 9 July 2019. Information on making a submission is available from the Committee’s website.