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  • Do Intervention Orders Show on a Police Check?

    When you apply for a job, position, volunteer or some licenses, your potential employer/organisation generally wants to know about criminal history or records. It is not a matter of spite or discrimination, but to protect their image, customers and resources, and fulfil the obligations of the law on recruitments.

    For instance, it will be inappropriate and unlawful for a volunteer organisation for the vulnerable to accept a volunteer with recent histories of abuse or sexual assault. One of the credible ways an organisation can access a person’s criminal history is through a police check.

    It should be known that agreeing to an Intervention Order in the court of law without actually admitting to the allegations that have been made against you is dealt with as a “civil order” and is not a criminal matter. Therefore, in the majority of instances a “civil” intervention order will not show on a person’s police check result unless they breach the conditions of the order.

    What is a Police Check?

    A police check (also known as a Nationally Coordinated Criminal History Check) is a document of all an individual's court history, sentencing, conviction, a finding of guilt, and so on. It is only released by police agencies under guiding legislation of the State and the Spent convictions scheme.

    Furthermore, a police check will include all offences, court pronouncements, and convictions, including an intervention order, if they are related to the purpose. Therefore, an intervening order may reflect in a police check if it is related.

    What is an intervention order?

    An intervention order seems to be a “hidden concept”. So what is an intervention order?

    If the court restrains a person (usually out of a complaint or a charge) from a particular activity or proximity to a person or place, the person has an intervention order. In the past, it was popular as a "restraining order".

    For example, if a person feels they are stalked or threatened by another, and they feel scared or uncomfortable about it. With hard evidence, they could approach a court to get a restraining order served against the stalker. The court may summon the defendant, and if it finds them guilty, issue them an intervention order.

    Other popular behaviours that can warrant an intervention order are;

    • Harassment
    • Physical assault
    • Threats and violent actions
    • Destruction to property
    • Actions that cause mental or emotional harm
    • Court orders against entering certain places.

    What should I do if I get a court to summon?

    If you receive a court summons, the wise step will be to engage the services of an experienced lawyer and appear in court. Disregarding court summons will land you in bigger trouble than the original offence. It may also appear on your police clearance check results.

    When you receive a court summons, you have a chance to present your case/evidence regarding the matter. How you defend the matter will determine if you get an intervention order or not; or have the extra conviction in your criminal record check.

    What happens if you violate an intervention order?

    If you think you are charged with an intervention order, you should go to court and defend your position. Else, respect the directives of the intervention order. It is a criminal offence to disregard the directives of an intervention order.

    In addition to breaching an intervention order being a serious offence, it may also impact other of your court proceedings. It will lead to both the original offence and the breach of the order recorded against you in your police criminal records.

    Do all intervention orders turn up in a police check?

    Though an intervention order will not show in a person's criminal records, it may show up in their national police check document.

    When an intervention order shows up in your check, it may affect your chances at getting a license, a job you apply for or a volunteer role. While they are not criminal offences in themselves, they may dent the person’s chances.

    However, if you have an intervention order against you, follow the directive and apply for a reversal of the order.

    Is an intervention order on your police check for life?

    The court will only cancel an intervention order if the person's application for reversal is successful. Hence, it may remain in place for life, especially in cases of potential harm, sexual assault or financial misappropriation.

    Obeying the court directive on an intervention order is a great mollifying effort to make. The next step should be to seek a competent legal service to reverse the application.

    How long will a police check last?

    A criminal history check is "better appreciated" the closer the time it is to when you were issued. It contains all the convictions and records of the individual up to that point but has no expiry date.

    However, most organisations/recruitment agencies will not accept a check older than 3 months. SOme also require regular updates of the checks from their employees e.g. every year or so.

    If you get an intervention order within this period, you should inform your organisation. It would help them manage the situation based on their internal risk mitigation strategy.

    What other offences show in my check?

    The national criminal background check will contain all records from the national database which are "releasable" under the State's legislation. These offences do not qualify to be "spent", and are related to the purpose.

    Some of these offences are;

    • Convictions/Charges against corporate organisations
    • Sexually related offences
    • Assault or bodily harm
    • Traffic charges for which an individual is convicted in a court
    • All sentences and convictions
    • Pending court charges and offences
    • Other offences not under the Spent convictions scheme

    Spent convictions under the spent conviction scheme in Australia removes some offences from a person’s crime check. These offences satisfy certain prescribed conditions, have "outlived" a period (certain offences) or are not releasable under the state laws. For example, if you apply for a national police check in NSW, the spent convictions laws of NSW will apply. It should also be noted that spent convictions generally apply to minor offences.

    Wrapping Up

    Having an intervention order is no small matter, especially if it relates to a role or license that you wish to apply for.

    The intervention orders e.g. the (prevention of Abuse) Act of 2009 (SA) and similar legislation in other States govern the intervention orders. They provide better guidelines on intervention orders, compliance and breach of orders.

    It is best to avoid all forms of actions, activity or places that are likely to get you an intervention order.

    Since police checks are a crucial document of assessment in Australia, you should apply for one in a timely manner when needed. You will receive it conveniently if you apply via the online portal of Australian National Character Check - ANCC.

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