Historical Homosexual Convictions Expungement Scheme

The Historical Homosexual Expungement Scheme allows people to apply for historical homosexual convictions to be removed from their criminal history.

The Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime is proudly LGBTQIA+ friendly.

Services to victims of crime are available to all Western Australians, whatever their sexuality. The Office is proud to administer the State Government’s Historical Homosexual Convictions Expungement Scheme.

Consensual homosexual activity was once a criminal offence in Western Australia, and people were charged with criminal offences for behaviour that would not be illegal today. Even though homosexual activity is no longer a criminal offence, some people in Western Australia still have convictions that appear on their criminal record.

The Historical Homosexual Expungement Scheme allows people to apply for their historical homosexual convictions to be expunged—or removed—from their criminal history. The Scheme recognises the hurt and discrimination caused by these historical convictions. When the Historical Homosexual Convictions Expungement Act 2018 was introduced in Parliament, Premier Mark McGowan said:

On behalf of the government of Western Australia, I am sorry for the hurt, for the prejudice, and for the active discrimination that ruined lives. For decades in Western Australia, unjust laws against homosexual acts were used to shame homosexual men, to deny their human rights, and to deny their humanity. We are doing all we can to now right this wrong. Read the rest of the apology.

If you would like more information about the Scheme, you can contact the Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime on 08 9264 9877 or by emailing  Expungement@justice.wa.gov.au. The Office can give you support throughout the application process, and can also refer you to other support services.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How do I apply?

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You need to apply in writing by filling in an application form. The application form includes a section where you give consent for us to access records about your historical convictions. You will also need to give us proof of your identity.

The application form will ask you for details about the historical conviction. Please provide as much information as you can remember, but be aware that you can submit your application form even if you can’t remember all the details. We will work with you to find the information.

2. What other information do I need to supply?

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The online form sets out the information you need to give us.

You can send your application and supporting documents via:

Email

Expungement@justice.wa.gov.au

Post

Expungement Team
Office of the Commissioner for Victims of Crime
Department of Justice
GPO Box F317 Perth WA 6841

3. What convictions are covered by the Scheme?

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The Historical Homosexual Convictions Expungement Act 2018 lists specific offences that are covered by the Scheme, including carnal knowledge, gross indecency, and indecent dealing. Refer to the list in Schedule 1 of the Act.

If you aren’t sure whether your conviction is covered by the Scheme, you can contact us. If your conviction is not currently covered by the Scheme, but did involve consensual homosexual activity, you can write to us with details. The legislation allows us to expand the list of eligible convictions listed in the Schedule if required.

4. Can I apply on someone’s behalf to have their conviction expunged?

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Yes. If the eligible person is still alive, an application can be made on their behalf by:

  • a guardian, if there is an enduring power of guardianship in place
  • a guardian of a person who has a guardianship order or an administration order.

If the eligible person has died, an application can be made on their behalf by someone who is 18 years or older and who was:

  • the spouse or partner of the eligible person directly before they died
  • a parent, child or sibling of the eligible person
  • the executor of the will or administrator of the estate of the eligible person
  • someone who maintained a close personal relationship with the eligible person just before the person died ('close personal relationship' means they had frequent contact of a personal nature and took a genuine interest in the eligible person’s welfare).

Another person who was involved with the conviction at the time can also apply. For example, if you have a historical conviction and a person who was convicted with you for the same historical offence has died, you can apply for expungement on your own behalf, as well as for the other person.

5. What happens after I submit the application?

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Once we get your application, we will ask for copies of official criminal records relating to your conviction from the following agencies (as relevant):

  • the WA Police Force
  • Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions
  • Children’s, Magistrates, District and Supreme Courts of Western Australia.

After we receive those records, the Director General will make a decision about your application, considering:

  • whether the offence is a historical homosexual offence for the purposes of the Scheme
  • that on the balance of probabilities, you would not have been charged with the offence but for the fact you were engaging in homosexual activity
  • that you would not be charged with the offence if engaging in the same conduct today.

The Director General must be satisfied about all of these points. They must also consider the relative ages of the people involved in the conduct and whether they consented to it.

6. How long will it take to process my application?

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It depends on how difficult it is to locate the official criminal records relating to your conviction. The records may be held on offsite storage by the WA Police Force and the Department of Justice’s Courts and Tribunal Services Division.

Because of the number of records held offsite and the length of time that may have passed since you were convicted, it is important that you provide as much information as possible with your application to help us find your records. Helpful information may include the:

  • date of your conviction
  • location of the courthouse
  • full name of any other people involved
  • part of the Criminal Code under which you were convicted.

7. What is the practical effect of having my conviction expunged?

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Once your conviction is expunged, you no longer need to disclose it, include it in applications for employment, volunteering, or licences, and when giving evidence under oath about your criminal history. An expunged conviction is no longer part of your official criminal record.

8. What can I do if my application is denied?

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You can ask the State Administrative Tribunal to review the decision. You must lodge your application for review within 28 days. You can contact the State Administrative Tribunal directly to make your application.

9. Can the historical conviction ever be put back on my record (revived)?

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If the Director General of the Department of Justice is advised that your historical conviction was expunged on the basis of false or misleading information, they can reconsider your application. If this happened, you would be told and given the opportunity to provide a written submission. If the Director General decides to revive the conviction, it would once again form part of your official criminal record.

The decision to revive a conviction can also be reviewed by the State Administrative Tribunal.

Page reviewed 6 December 2021