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Expunged homosexual conviction

Previously, under Victorian Law, homosexuality was punished as a crime, leaving many people with criminal records simply because of their sexual orientation. As homosexual acts are no longer considered a crime, people can apply to have historical homosexual convictions expunged (removed) from their criminal record. It is against the law for someone to discriminate against you because you have an expunged homosexual conviction.

An elderly man with rough stubble stares at the camera

Photo by Juan Pablo Serrano Arenas from Pexels

What is an expunged homosexual conviction?

Up until 1981, it was possible to be convicted of certain sexual and public morality offences. Although these laws no longer exist, the criminal records arising from those offences have remained for some people for over 30 years.

In 2015, the Equal Opportunity Act 2010 was updated to include expunged homosexual convictions. This means it is against the law for someone to discriminate against you because have an expunged homosexual conviction.

It removes the stigma of a criminal record along with the practical problems created by having a criminal conviction in Victoria, such as a person’s right to travel or to find a job.

The expunged conviction will not be released as a part of a criminal history check and people will be protected from having to reveal an expunged conviction, including under oath.

Find out how to apply to expunge a historical conviction.

How does the law protect me?

Discrimination is against the law if it happens in an area of public life such as:

Under the Equal Opportunity Act, duty holders (such as employers, schools, and goods and service providers) have a positive duty to eliminate discrimination, sexual harassment and victimisation in these areas, as far as possible.

It is also against the law to victimise a person, which means treat them badly, because they have made complaint about discrimination or helped someone else make a complaint.

You can make a complaint

Get help from the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission.

You can make a complaint to us if you think you have experienced:

If you wish, someone else can make a complaint for you. Find out how the Commission helps people resolve complaints.

We can also give you information about your rights.

Are there any exceptions to the law?

There are some exceptions in the Equal Opportunity Act that mean it’s not against the law to discriminate in particular circumstances. For example, discrimination is not against the law if there is a real risk to someone’s health, safety or property.

Find out more about exceptions.

My human rights under the Charter

Every Victorian has the right to equal and effective protection against discrimination, and to enjoy their human rights without discrimination.

Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities contains 20 basic rights that promote and protect the values of freedom, respect, equality, and dignity.

The Victorian Government, local councils and other public authorities must always consider Charter rights, including the right to equality, when they create laws, develop policies and deliver their services.

Find out more about your human rights under the Charter and what to do if you think they have been breached.

Related resources

Pride not Prejudice: Short film series – 2016

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Address
Level 3, 204 Lygon Street Carlton Victoria 3053

General enquiries
enquiries@veohrc.vic.gov.au

Reception
1300 891 848

Enquiry line
1300 292 153 or (03) 9032 3583

Interpreters
1300 152 494

NRS Voice Relay
1300 555 727 then use 1300 292 153

Media enquiries
0447 526 642

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission stands on the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri and Boonwurrung Peoples of the Kulin Nation. We recognise their cultures, histories, diversity and deep connection to this land and pay our respects to their Elders past and present.

Sovereignty has never been ceded – this land always was, and always will be, Aboriginal land.