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What spent conviction orders do

What spent conviction orders do

What does a spent conviction order do?

Having a spent conviction order (SCO) means that you may not have to acknowledge that you were charged with and convicted of an offence. However, in some situations you will still have to provide information about your convictions. Some of these situations are described below.

What if I am discriminated against because I have a spent conviction order?

An SCO may mean that people cannot discriminate against you for having a conviction. For example, it would be unlawful for an employer, contractor or similar body to discriminate against you for having a conviction where an SCO was made.

If someone does discriminate against you because of a conviction and an SCO was made, you may have grounds for a complaint under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984 (WA).

However, there are some situations where it may be lawful to discriminate against you, even if an SCO has been made.

If you think someone has discriminated against you, make sure that they are not included in the list of exceptions below. It could be lawful to discriminate against you even where an SCO was made. However, as this is not a full list, you should get legal advice about your specific circumstances.

For further information, see Discrimination.

When will I have to disclose a spent conviction?

Although you generally do not have to disclose spent convictions, there are specific exceptions when you must disclose them. The following headings cover some of the more common situations when you must disclose spent convictions.

What are some of the general exceptions?

Please note that this list does not contain every situation and if your situation is not covered here or you are in any doubt about whether to disclose your spent conviction, you should seek legal advice.

If you are asked about prior convictions, you must disclose spent convictions if you are:

  • being considered by the Prisoners Review Board, the Supervised Release Review Board or Mentally Impaired Accused Review Board
  • being considered for appointment as a Justice of the Peace
  • being considered for appointment as a police constable, police auxiliary officer, special constable, Aboriginal police liaison officer or police cadet
  • being appointed or considered for appointment by the police to a position where the duties require or may require the provision of services or to deal in any manner, with persons not of full legal capacity
  • being considered for employment as a prison officer
  • holding or applying to be issued with a permit to do high level security work under the Prisons Act 1981 (WA)
  • being considered for employment under the Gold Corporation Act 1987 (WA)
  • being considered for the grant of a licence as a casino key employee or casino employee under the Casino Control (Burswood Island) (Licensing of Employees) Regulations 1985 (WA)
  • holding a licence or permit or applying for renewal of a licence or permit as a security agent, security officer, security consultant, or security installer under the Security and Related Activities (Control) Act 1996 (WA)
  • applying for the issue of a licence under the Firearms Act 1973 (WA)
  • being considered for employment or a contract for work involving assessing, reporting about or classifying prisoners
  • being considered for authorisations under the Court Security and Custodial Services Act 1999 (WA) or the Corruption and Crime Commission Act 2003 (WA)
  • designated or being considered for designation as a security officer under the Public Transport Authority Act 2003 (WA)
  • appointed or being considered for appointment, as the Public Trustee or in some jobs to assist the Public Trustee under the Public Trustee Act 1941 (WA) and the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (WA)
  • appointed or being considered for appointment, as the Public Advocate and some jobs to assist the Public Advocate under the Guardianship and Administration Act 1990 (WA) and the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (WA)
  • being appointed or considered for appointment to a position where the duties may require you to come into contact with children in a school or community kindergarten
  • being employed or considered for employment with a college established under the Vocational Education and Training Act 1996 or by the Country High School Hostels Authority
  • applying for a licence to provide a child care service
  • being employed or considered for employment or placed as a student or trainee or being engaged in an unpaid capacity with the Department for Child Protection
  • being engaged or considered for engagement by the Department for Child Protection either for reward or in an unpaid capacity to provide overnight care
  • being employed, seconded or considered for employment, whether paid or unpaid or as a student, at the Department of Health
  • being employed or considered for employment at the Disability Services Commission or an organisation funded by the Disability Services Commission.

What are the exceptions for the protection of children?

There are special considerations for certain jobs involving children. An employer can ask you to disclose convictions for certain offences, even if an SCO was made.

These offences include:

  • all assaults
  • offences against morality
  • depriving someone of their liberty
  • sexual offences
  • child stealing
  • desertion of children
  • endangering someone’s life or health
  • homicide, suicide and concealment of birth.

An SCO for these types of offences still has to be disclosed if you are:

  • being considered for any form of employment carried out wholly or partly within the precincts of a:
      • school;
      • care centre;
      • pre-school centre; or
      • place where a child care service is conducted;
  • being considered for participation in the safety house scheme organised by the Safety House Association of WA;
  • being assessed for suitability for adoptive parenthood;
  • employed or being considered for employment by the Department of Sport and Recreation.

What information is included in a Working with Children Check?

If you have applied for a Working with Children Check a criminal record check is made which will provide information about:

  • every conviction against you for an offence in WA or another Australian jurisdiction, including any conviction that is a spent conviction; and
  • every pending charge against you for a Class 1 or Class 2 offence in WA or another Australian jurisdiction.

The Working with Children website has a Fact Sheet on Class 1 and Class 2 offences and a general information Working with Children Check Booklet.   

Where can I get more information?

  • For information about exclusions for federal or Commonwealth offences contact the Information Commissioner on 1300 363 992 or visit the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner website.
  • For more information on discrimination contact the Equal Opportunity Commission on (08) 9216 3900 or toll free on 1800 198 149 or TTY on (08) 9216 3936.  You can also visit the Equal Opportunity Commission website. 

Last reviewed: 21/03/2013

Last modified:


The information displayed on this page is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. If you have a legal problem, you should see a lawyer. Legal Aid Western Australia aims to provide information that is accurate, however does not accept responsibility for any errors or omissions in the information provided on this page or incorporated into it by reference.