What if I was convicted of an offence a long time ago?

Will an offence be taken into account during screening, even if it occurred more than 10 years ago?

If the offence occurred a long time ago (e.g. more than 10 years ago) there is a possibility it is now considered to be 'spent', due to the passage of time.  Convictions that are considered "spent" will not be included in a criminal history report that is considered during screening by the DCSI Screening Unit (unless the category of employment, or purpose of the screening application is considered exempt from the workings of any applicable Spent Convictions scheme).

Spent convictions schemes have been introduced to provide some protection for persons from unreasonable discrimination based on minor or old convictions, after a period free of re-offending.  The information that can be released by police agencies about a person's criminal history may vary between the various Australian States and Territories, and will depend on any Spent Convictions laws or policies in each case that apply.  For more information about Spent Convictions Schemes in Australia refer to our Spent Convictions Schemes Fact Sheet (DOC 102.0 KB).

Exemption based on type of screening

Child-related employment screening and spent convictions:  The DCSI Screening Unit can access and take into account spent convictions information from sources Australia-wide, specifically for child-related employment screening only.

This capability is provided through an intergovernmental agreement for the National Exchange of Criminal History Information for People Working with Children (ECHIPWC).

In 2013, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed to a permanent inter-jurisdictional exchange of criminal history information for screening people working with children (‘the Exchange’). The Exchange increases the range of criminal history information shared between jurisdictions and is an important measure in protecting children from harm.