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.
The Rethinking Criminal Record Checks (RCRC) project is being carried out by RMIT University in partnership with Woor-Dungin, Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisations (VACCHO) and Winda Mara Aboriginal Corporation and is funded by the Victorian Legal Services Board.
The RCRC project has established a Reference Committee made up of Aboriginal community leaders and representatives of key Aboriginal organisations which will provide advice, guidance and feedback to support the delivery of the project.
The RCRC project 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 in February 2020 to introduce a legislated spent convictions scheme. The Spent Convictions Bill 2020 was introduced in the Victorian Parliament in October 2020.
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.
- 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.
You can read about the project background and history here.
If you’d like to be involved with the project, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact:
Christa Momot | Stakeholder Engagement Co-ordinator | 0411 701 288 | Christa.Momot@rmit.edu.au
Michael Bell | Aboriginal Community Engagement Worker | 0491 126 471 | Michael.Bell@rmit.edu.au
Naomi Murphy | Aboriginal Community Engagement Worker | 0400 166 380 | email@example.com