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Screening Unit
Screening Unit

Check process

Check applications can be started by an individual or by an organisation on behalf of their employees or volunteers. Sole-traders, contractors and self-employed people are considered organisations, too.

Individuals can do their own application from start to finish.

Organisations need to register with the Screening Unit before they can do any applications.

After an organisation starts an application, the Screening Unit emails the individual, asking them to login to the system, confirm their identity, and complete and submit the application.

How the process works

How the process works

The Screening Unit uses an individual’s name, previous names, date of birth and residential information to get a national criminal history record from the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) and to check the South Australian Child Protection database.

If there is no name match in the ACIC database, it suggests the individual has no relevant criminal history. ACIC responds to the Screening Unit with a ‘no disclosable court outcomes’ result.

If there are multiple name matches in the ACIC database, they will use extra information, e.g. previous addresses or legal names, to confirm or rule out potential matches.

Once ACIC confirms a name match, they forward the application to the relevant police jurisdiction to check, as legislation about the type of information that can be released varies between states. When ACIC gets the results back from the state police, they respond to the Screening Unit with any ‘disclosable court outcome(s)’.

Depending on the type of check being done, information in a disclosable court outcome may include:

  • charges
  • court convictions, including penalties and sentences
  • findings of guilt with no conviction
  • court appearances
  • good behaviour bonds or other court orders
  • matters awaiting court hearing.

Information assessed

Information assessed

The table below outlines what information the Screening Unit uses for different types of check.

Type of check

Working with children

Disability services

Aged care sector

Vulnerable person-related

General employment probity

Police check (provided by SA Police, not DHS Screening Unit)

Required by law?

Yes

Yes

Yes (Commonwealth)

No

No

No

Sources of information

National criminal history record check

South Australian government agencies related to care concerns and investigations

Applicant declarations

National criminal history record check

South Australian government agencies related to care concerns and investigations

Applicant declarations

National criminal history record check

Applicant declarations

National criminal history record check

Applicant declarations

National criminal history record check

Applicant declarations

National criminal history record check

Child protection information included?

Yes

Yes

No

No

No

No

Information assessed

National police apprehension reports

Court sentencing remarks

National convictions – withdrawn, spent, non-convictions.

National charges – pending, withdrawn, dismissed, acquitted

Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information

SA Police apprehension reports

Court sentencing remarks

National convictions – withdrawn, spent, non-convictions.

National charges – pending, withdrawn, dismissed

Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information

National convictions – including SA spent convictions

Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information

National convictions – including SA spent convictions

Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information

National convictions – including certain types of spent convictions

Submissions from or interviews with the individual about relevant assessable information

National convictions – including certain types of spent convictions

Convictions likely to result in an unsuccessful application

Murder

Sexual assault

Violence relating to a child

Child pornography

Child prostitution

Child neglect

Murder

Sexual assault

Serious violent offences

Aggravated assault

Any offence committed against children or an individual with disability

Theft or fraud related offences against an individual with disability or older person

Drug supply offences relating to a child, older person, individual with disability

Murder

Sexual assault

Assault resulting in prison sentence

Dependant on role

Dependant on role

Defined by the organisation

Spent convictions

Spent convictions

There are laws for when an individual’s older, less serious convictions (or findings of guilt) are no longer shown on their criminal record. The South Australian law for these ‘spent convictions’ is the Spent Convictions Act 2009.

Spent convictions protect people from unreasonable discrimination based on minor or old convictions, provided they haven’t re-offended. Making sure an individual’s past mistakes don’t affect the rest of their lives is part of rehabilitating offenders.

Some convictions are never spent, such as sex offences and convictions with sentences of more than 12 months imprisonment for adults, or 24 months imprisonment for juveniles.

Spent convictions do not show on a national police check. However, the law says they can be included for checks of people working or volunteering with children, people with disability, vulnerable people, or in the aged care sector.

Timeframes

If a Court proves an offence or finds an offender guilty but decides not to record a conviction against them, it is a spent offence.

If an offence is quashed (set aside) by a Court, the individual is given a pardon, or the qualification period lapses, it becomes a spent offence.

Otherwise, for adults in South Australia, an eligible conviction becomes spent after 10 years have passed since a Court proved the offence or found the offender guilty, provided the individual has been offence-free in this time. For juveniles in South Australia, it becomes spent after five years offence-free.

Interstate offences

There are spent conviction laws covering federal and state-based offences in every state and territory, except Victoria. The Commonwealth Government also has overarching laws about how old conviction information is collected, used and shared.

Contact the police of the state or territory where you may have committed an offence to get more information about their information release policies and legislation.

Length of time to get a check

Length of time to get a check

The Screening Unit finishes most check applications within three weeks. It can longer than this if there is a lot of information to assess or it is complex.

Processing can take longer than three weeks if:

  • you have relevant criminal history
  • other agencies (e.g. police, other government departments) or individual applicants take a long time to provide information to the Screening Unit
  • a large number of applications are submitted at the same time (e.g. January to April is usually a busy time of year).

To avoid delays:

  • don’t leave your application until the last minute – you can apply up to six months before your current check expires
  • ensure the information you provide is accurate and complete (e.g. all names and addresses)
  • check your email regularly, in case the Screening Unit contacts you for more information about your application.

It is an offence to provide misleading information to the Screening Unit, so applicants should double-check all information is correct.

You can check the status of your application at any time.

Once your application is processed, the Screening Unit will tell you the result (except for general employment probity check). If an organisation started the application on your behalf, the result will be emailed to them.


Related information

State Government of South Australia © Copyright DHS[sm v5.4.7.1] .

Last updated:[06 Jun 2019 7:58am]

Provided by:
SA Department for Human Services
URL:
https://screening.sa.gov.au/about-checks/check-process
Last Updated:
05 Jul 2018
Printed on:
22 Nov 2019
The Screening Unit website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016