Monday, 01 February 2016 14:35

Victorian Government to formally apologise for criminal label

In a symbolic bid to rectify past injustices, the Victorian Government will make a formal apology to those in the community who have been forced to live with the stigma of a criminal record for over three decades.

Prior to 1980, men could be sentenced for up to 15 years in prison for having consensual sex with other men. Such convictions have severely impacted on many people’s lives since then; affecting their ability to fully participate in society through travel, volunteering and through restricting job prospects.

The government’s announcement to address what it now recognises as unjust and prejudiced laws is part of the expungement process announced last year where Victorians are now able to apply to the Department of Justice to have any previous convictions for consensual sex removed from their records.

Following the announcement Premier Daniel Andrews said:

“Homosexuality was decriminalised in 1980, but for those convicted under the old laws, it’s been a long wait to clear their names.”

“These laws cast a long, dark shadow of prejudice that still stands today, and our apology is one small but meaningful way to right that historic wrong.”

The apology will take place in the Victorian Parliament on May 24.

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