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  • Home Resources & Technical Articles Pre-Employment Screening Topics National Police Checks Will a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) show up on a police check?

    Will a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) show up on a police check?

    It is a given now that almost all employers, agencies, and other services will request a police check from an applicant. These requesting bodies use the criminal history checks as an assessment to determine how the applicant will fit in such a role or service.

    However, one big question for many candidates is knowing which records or criminal history their police character check reveals. Although the police record check follows strict laws and disclosure policies in revealing “sensitive details” of individuals, some people are still unsure of “what makes what”.

    Does a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) show up in a Police Check?

    If you have received a DVO from the authorities (Court), you must abide by all stated conditions. If you have not breached the conditions of a DVO, your Domestic Violence Order (DVO) will not appear on a National Police Check or your criminal records.

    However, under certain conditions or in the case of a breach of the order (DVO), details of your Domestic Violence Order can be disclosed.

    Furthermore, while the DVO does not show in your Police Check (Criminal records), it is recorded in the Police database and may be used to testify against you in a court proceeding.

    What happens if I breach the conditions of my DVO?

    When the Court issues a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) against a person, it will include conditions that keep the order running. These conditions may last for a period depending on when the Court considers it safe or relevant for the complainant.

    However, breaching a Domestic Violence Order can incur more troubles for the defendant. If the Court finds that the defendant violated the DVO without a reasonable excuse, they will issue punishments. These punishments in the forms of sentencing can include fines, imprisonment terms or other harsher conditions of the DVO.

    Also, the breach will be recorded as an offence on the defendant’s national criminal records. And it will include the penalties that the violation received.

    So, if you do not breach the conditions of a DVO, it will not show in your Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check.

    What happens if it is not possible to meet certain conditions in your DVO

    If some factors/circumstances change that make the DVO condition impossible to satisfy, you should discuss it with your parole officer. The Parole officer can help you make an application to the Court to review those conditions.

    However, if you go against those conditions without the permission or knowledge of your parole officer, the Court may consider it a breach.

    What other records show up in a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check?

    Police checks are a nationwide assessment scheme. The applicant receives a certificate that contains their criminal records, including;

    What does not show up in a Police Check?

    Not all court outcomes or offences will show in your nationally coordinated criminal history check result. Community punishments or those issued by an organisation do not show up in a criminal record check. Also, a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) will not appear in your police check (assuming the conditions of the DVO have not been breached).

    Other offences that do not appear in your criminal background check are;

    What is a Domestic Violence Order (DVO)?

    The Court will issue a Domestic Violence Order (DVO) where the applicant and the accused are in a close relationship. Usually, domestic assault or violence cases are more severe than non-domestic cases. Some examples of such ties where the Court grants a Domestic Violence Order is;

    • Domestic partner or former domestic partner;
    • Blood Relative;
    • Parent;
    • Child of a household or a former domestic partner.

    Will a Domestic Violence Order affect me?

    Yes, there are several ways a court issued DVO can affect your dealings. Even when it does not appear in a criminal background check, it may be required for other purposes.

    For instance, you may be unable to get close to certain areas or premises due to conditions on your DVO.

    • May prohibit you from coming close to a school premises or area

    Depending on why or who applied for a Domestic Violence Order against you, the Court may prohibit you from reaching distances from a school.

    • Prevent you from getting certain licenses (Firearm, Driving, etc.,)

    Where the Court considers you a potential threat to the person, the order may prohibit you from;

    • Owning a firearm, gun or other related arms,
    • Other arms that would provide you security.

    The DVO may also, in severe cases, require a temporal seizure of your driver's license, especially where the Court wants to prohibit you from fleeing.

    • DVO may limit you from certain roles

    Although a DVO does not appear in a criminal background check, some employers will request it. The government also permits employers to ask for a DVO where the applicant applies for a sensitive role or position (e.g. roles with close access to vulnerable populations).

    • Order you vacate a common or shared accommodation

    Usually, a DVO will come with the condition that you vacate the shared premises. It may place you in the dilemma of looking for shelter or leaving shared premises.

    • DVO can prevent you from travelling

    The conditions for some specific Domestic Violence Orders can prevent the defendant from travelling for the period of their order. It means you will have to remain in the State or Territory for the duration of the Domestic Violence Order.

    Who can apply for a Domestic Violence Order?

    The nature of the matter can allow for some flexibility for anyone who applies for a Domestic Violence Order.

    • The person that needs protection,
    • The Police,
    • A litigation Adult, for a child (underage) who needs the protection order. The adult must not be legally disabled.
    • With the Court's leave, a child may apply for a Domestic Violence Order/Protection Order if they suffer or are threatened with abuse.

    For matters of workplace violence and assaults, only the employer can apply for the Personal Protection Order. The employee will have to submit all applications through their employer as the Court does not allow employee applications.

    Can a DVO breach be Spent?

    If the Court convicts you of breaching a Domestic Violence Order, it may become spent after a "waiting period". Spent convictions are erased from the offender's criminal history after a period of good behaviour elapses.

    The waiting period is;

    What is the difference between a Police record and a Criminal record?

    While most people use both terms interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing. It is a grievous mistake to equate a Police record to a Criminal record, as they are technically different.

    A Criminal record contains all your court records, history and convictions issued by a court. It also includes pending charges, finding of guilt without convictions. However, your criminal record will not include convictions that have become spent under the State or the Spent Conviction Scheme.

    Police records are more extensive than criminal records and contain all the person's history with the Police, Court and other legal agencies. It includes all;

    • Apprehended Violence Orders / Protection/Intervention orders,
    • Traffic offences,
    • Infringement notices,
    • Court summons,
    • Spent offences,
    • Police cautions/warnings,
    • Traffic tickets,
    • Fines,
    • Finding of guilt,
    • Drug offences,
    • Sentence dismissals,
    • Police orders,
    • Good Behaviour Bonds,
    • And other records the Police have against the person.

    Furthermore, the Police/Prosecutor can testify in Court against a person with a Police record. However, a Police record cannot be released discriminately to any person except for specific court orders.

    What about a Police-issued Domestic Violence Order?

    Depending on the circumstances, the law allows the Police officer to impose an emergency Domestic Violence Order. If the police know that a person is in immediate danger, they can issue an order against the aggressor for a period. Usually, the emergency order will last until the Magistrate has issued a final order for the case.

    If the Police issue a police order against a person, it will be recorded in a Police records/database, but not in their Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Checks.

    What offences will the Court consider in granting a Domestic Violence Order?

    A Magistrate considers lots of factors and evidence in a closed/open hearing before issuing a Domestic Violence Order. The Magistrate can dismiss an application for a Domestic Violence Order if it considers the evidence inadequate.

    The Court will grant a DVO application if the prosecutor can prove any of these actions or their likelihood;

    • Physical violence or abuse,
    • Sexual violence or abuse,
    • Emotional or psychological abuse,
    • Economic Abuse,
    • Threatening Behaviours,
    • Harassing, Intimidating or offensive behaviours,
    • Damaging Properties and other erratic behaviours.

    Can an employer request for your Domestic Violence Orders?

    Working in certain roles will require you to tell details of all your Violence orders. The Australian government encourages employers to carry more profound assessments on their applicants, mainly when they apply for sensitive roles.

    The employer may require any history of a Domestic Violence Orders for a person who wants to work as any of;

    • Health care personnel,
    • Fireman,
    • Police,
    • Teacher/Educator,
    • School bus driver,
    • Customer care representative,
    • Aged or vulnerable care.

    How can I obtain a criminal record check?


    Individuals who are after a criminal record check for themselves can apply for a criminal background check online via the Australian National Character Check (ANCC) website. The application process is online and the results are dispatched via email in PDF format.

    Business and Enterprise Customers

    Approved Business and Enterprise users can sign up to ANCC’s business portal where they can add or remove portal users, assign user access levels, order, manage and track criminal history check results for their own candidates.

    ANCC sends invites to the applicant to complete their criminal background check and handles the entire procedure for the application form and the informed consent form up until the result is dispatched. Contact ANCC’s business and enterprise partnerships team today to enquire about setting up a business portal for your workplace.

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