Research + Projects

Rethinking Criminal Records Checks

Building on earlier successful work addressing this issue, the Rethinking Criminal Records project will educate employers and job seekers about their rights and obligations in disclosing criminal history.

'Ulupna Wanala (Home in Spring)’ by Renee Gray

This is a project being carried out by RMIT University in partnership with Woor-Dungin, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (VACCHO) and Winda Mara Aboriginal Corporation, funded by the Victorian Legal Services Board.

We are in the process of establishing an Aboriginal led Reference Committee which will provide advice, guidance and feedback to support the delivery of the project.

It builds on the Criminal Record Discrimination Project (CRDP), a project initiated by Aboriginal organisations associated with Woor-Dungin in 2016 which advocated for legal change, and the Aboriginal ex-offender employment project (AEOEP).

The CRDP had an important advocacy role and was influential in the Victorian Government’s commitment to pass spent convictions and anti-discrimination legislation.

The AEOEP aimed to provide immediate, practical support to Aboriginal Victorians who have a criminal record and are seeking employment.

The current project

Criminal record checking can be a major barrier to employment in Aboriginal communities. Aboriginal communities have highlighted the serious hurdles posed by employers’ use of criminal record checks, irrespective of the relevance of the criminal history.

This project will explore ways to improve employment opportunities for Aboriginal people, and to support employers in recruitment of Aboriginal people.

The aims of the project are to identify existing good practice amongst employers, and to communicate these practices to jobseekers and employers in ways that can be readily adopted.

We will also be engaging employers and employees in an ongoing program to enhance Aboriginal employment, in partnership with Victorian Aboriginal communities.

Our long-term vision

  • To influence change in policy and practice amongst public and private sector employers and the broader community in relation to people with a criminal record seeking work.
  • Law reform including the establishment of a legislated spent convictions scheme in Victoria, and protection from discrimination based on old or irrelevant criminal history.
  • Reducing disadvantage for Aboriginal people in Victoria through increased access to employment and the removal of barriers to self-determination.

Our Objectives

  • To facilitate employment of Aboriginal people by identifying legal requirements for use of criminal record checks and current good/best practice of employers in the use of criminal record checking and assessment and balancing of risk
  • To provide Aboriginal jobseekers, with a criminal record, with information and guidance based on knowledge of legal requirements and employer best practice to present their strongest case for employment to an employer.
  • To communicate these practices and learnings to employers, including government agencies and Aboriginal-run organisations, and to Aboriginal jobseekers in the most effective and implementable ways.

 

For more information or if you’d like to be involved with the project, please email rethinkingcriminalrecords@rmit.edu.au or contact:

Christa Momot | 0411 701 288 | christa.momot@rmit.edu.au

Michael Bell | 0491 126 471 | Michael.Bell@rmit.edu.au

 

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Key People

Stan Winford

Stan Winford

Associate Director of Research, Innovation & Reform

Stan is a legal and justice system expert with experience in innovation and reform, including user centred design and applications for restorative and therapeutic justice in criminal and civil law.

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Rethinking Criminal Records Checks

Bronwyn Naylor

Professor in Law at RMIT University

Rethinking Criminal Records Checks

Georgina Heydon

Associate Professor, School of Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University

Rethinking Criminal Records Checks

Naomi Murphy

Wakka Wakka woman with lived experience; Winda Mara Aboriginal Corporation Aboriginal Community Engagement Worker and former Woor-Dungin Aboriginal Ex-Offender Employment Project Worker. Naomi is also the VALS, Gippsland Client Services Officer.

Christa Momot

Christa Momot

Rethinking Criminal Record Checks Project - Stakeholder Engagement Co-ordinator

Christa is the Rethinking Criminal Record Checks Project - Stakeholder Engagement Co-ordinator.

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Michael Bell

Michael Bell

Rethinking Criminal Record Checks Project - Aboriginal Community Engagement Worker

RMIT CIJ Aboriginal Community Engagement Worker and former CEO Winda Mara Aboriginal Corporation; Elder Portland, Hamilton and Warrnambool Court; Michael was the Convenor of the CRDP Advisory Committee.

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Jarrod Hughes

Jarrod Hughes

Senior Adviser, Research and Advocacy

Jarrod is a social researcher with experience in social policy and criminal justice policy and has worked extensively within the Victorian Aboriginal community.

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