Police checks are standard requirements for industries like child care or aged care, and you’ll be required to disclose police check results when seeking employment in these sectors. If you are or have been subject to a domestic violence order (DVO), a police check can be a source of confusion and anxiety.
Sometimes referred to as a family violence order or family violence intervention order, a DVO is a court-ordered directive to stop violence. It will prevent the subject of the order (generally known as the ‘respondent’) from committing domestic violence against the applicant (sometimes referred to as the ‘aggrieved’), their family and friends. A DVO can also provide conditions such as limiting contact with other parties, restricting movement and suspending weapons licences.
So, does a DVO show on a police check? The specifics of what shows up will depend on which state you live in, but they’ll always be classed as ‘disclosable court outcomes’. This includes a wide variety of criminal charges, including convictions, suspended sentences and pending charges. A DVO is a civil order given by the courts, so it is not automatically included in police checks. A DVO is not a criminal conviction, but breaching the terms of a DVO can result in criminal prosecution. As such, a DVO won’t show up on your police check unless a breach has occurred.
To be subject to a DVO, a party must make an application to the courts. This party may be the person in danger of violence, the police, an adult on behalf of a child or, with the permission of the court, a child on their own behalf. To grant a DVO, a court will generally look for proof of actions such as:
If a DVO is granted, it will contain restrictions with which the subject of the order must comply. The conditions of DVOs can vary from case to case, though every DVO will order the subject not to commit violence against the applicant and their family.
Conditions can include:
A DVO won’t show up on a police check automatically, but it will if any of the conditions have been breached. When a breach occurs, the subject of the order can receive criminal convictions, including imprisonment and fines. Convictions such as these are classed as disclosable court outcomes and will appear on a police check. Even if the breach doesn’t result in a criminal conviction, it may still appear on a police check, as suspended sentences, findings of guilt without conviction and pending charges will also show on a police check.
It will vary depending on your state, but the following will typically be included in the results of a police check:
A DVO by itself does not meet the above requirements and will not show up on a police check. The reason is that a DVO isn’t a finding of criminal guilt or a conviction, it is a civil court order which imposes restrictions to prevent violence. If a breach of these restrictions occurs - such as the subject of the order committing violence or going where they’re not allowed - then a criminal conviction may be sought.
A DVO by itself will not appear on a police check, but it will appear on your police record. A police record lists a person’s complete police, court and legal history, including any current or prior DVO. This record, however, is generally undisclosed and can only be released by court order.
For a police check - which deals with a criminal record, rather than a police record - a DVO will not appear at all unless there has been a breach. If there has been a breach of the conditions of a DVO and a criminal conviction or punishment recorded, this will appear on a police check. In these instances, the resulting conviction from the DVO breach will appear until it is considered a spent conviction.
A conviction is considered ‘spent’ - that is, it no longer shows up on a police check - when certain criteria are met. It depends on which state you’re in, but generally, this will include both time since the conviction, a behavioural requirement (i.e. no crimes committed), and other criteria such as age and the offence in question. In Victoria, for instance, if a crime is committed by someone aged over 21, a conviction will be considered as a spent conviction after 10 years without committing any other crimes.
It’s important to note that not all convictions can become spent convictions. In many states, sexual crimes and those with extended periods of incarceration will always remain on police checks. Similarly, certain industries (such as child care and aged care) may still recognise spent convictions on police checks, precluding those with such convictions from employment.
While a DVO can provide a potential hurdle to employment, it is certainly not the only issue. If you’re subject to a DVO, expect to find limitations on:
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