Criminal History Checking
Frequently Asked Questions
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1. What is "Criminal History"?
Criminal History is defined in the health practitioner Registration Acts 2001 as all of the following:
- every conviction of the person for an offence, in Queensland or elsewhere, and whether before or after the commencement of this Act;
- every charge made against the person for an offence, in Queensland or elsewhere, and whether before or after the commencement of this Act.
2. Who will undergo criminal history checking?
All health practitioners1applying for initial registration under the relevant Health Practitioner Registration Act 2001, will undergo Australian criminal history checking - there are no exceptions.
Checks will not be conducted for current registrants or applications received on or before 30 June 2009.
Additionally, the Mutual Recognition (Queensland) Act 1992 and the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (Queensland) Act 2003 do not provide for the Boards to conduct Criminal History checks on Mutual Recognition applicants.
3. Do I have to apply for criminal history checking myself?
The Board will organise all Australian criminal history checks. Only applicants who have a criminal history in a country other than Australia need to seek a police certificate themselves (see question 5).
4. If I do have a criminal history, what documents should I provide?
If you do have a criminal history, whether in Australia or overseas, you should provide with your application all information and documentation you have relating to this.
Information you provide should include a full explanation of the circumstance and detail of the criminal history, as well as any documents or correspondence received from the courts or law enforcement authorities relating to the charge(s) and / or conviction(s).
Failure to provide any of this information will mean the Board may have to seek it from you, hence delaying your application.
5. What if my criminal history is from overseas?
Any applicant who does hold an overseas Criminal History must provide with their application, a valid Police Certificate, or equivalent (see policy Criminal History Checking: Applicant policy), from the law enforcement authority of each relevant jurisdiction.
You must also provide with your application, a full explanation of the circumstance and detail of the criminal history and include any documents or correspondence received from the courts or law enforcement authorities relating to the charge(s) and / or conviction(s).
Any costs associated with providing overseas Police Certificates are the responsibility of the applicant.
6. What if I can't get all the information?
You must provide as much relevant information as you possibly can.
If you hold an overseas criminal history and can not obtain an overseas Police Certificate(s), or equivalent, you may request that the Board grant an exemption. Please note, financial hardship is not a suitable reason to seek an exemption.
If you fail to provide any of the required documents, and have not been granted an exemption by the Board, and this will result in your application being incomplete, and will delay processing (see policy Incomplete applications).
7. What if I hold registration in another state?
You will only be screened when you apply for initial, general registration under the relevant Health Practitioner Registration Act. The Mutual Recognition (Queensland) Act 1992 and the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition (Queensland) Act 2003 do not provide for the Boards to conduct Criminal History checks on Mutual Recognition applicants.
8. What criminal history information will the Board obtain?
The Board will base their decision on information from two main sources; the results of your national criminal history check and the information you provide.
A Criminal History check will return information relating to every conviction and every charge for an offence, in Queensland or elsewhere, as per the definition in question 1. This may include information from the CrimTrac Agency and other Australian Police Services.
In addition, you must provide the Board with as much information as possible, including any documents or correspondence received from the courts or law enforcement authorities. This will assist the Board in gaining a full understanding of your situation, and enable them to make a fair, informed decision regarding your registration.
If any of this information is not provided with your application the Board will seek the information from you prior to considering your application.
9. How will the Board use the criminal history information?
The Board will use the criminal history information received to determine whether or not an applicant is fit to practise the profession and should be registered, or whether conditions should be imposed, in order to protect the public and uphold the standards of practice within the profession.
The information will assist the Board in gaining a full understanding of your situation, and enable them to make a fair, informed decision regarding your registration. Staff from the Criminal History Checking team will assist the Board with information gathering and preliminary assessment, but the final decision on registration will be made by the Board.
10. Who will have access to criminal history information?
There are strict policies in place to ensure the confidentiality of personal information. Information obtained through criminal history checking will only be made available to the Board and staff assisting the Board in the management and assessment of each case. It is unlawful for these officers to disclose the information inappropriately. All information will be stored safely and securely in accordance with office policy.
11. Will I get chance to explain my circumstances?
Yes. If you do have a criminal history, either in Australia or overseas, you must provide with your initial application a full explanation of the circumstance and detail of your criminal history and any documents or correspondence received from the courts or law enforcement authorities relating to the charge(s) and / or conviction(s).
Additionally, if the Board proposes to refuse registration, or impose conditional registration, your will be notified and given another opportunity to make a submission explaining your situation. The Board will consider this additional information in reaching their final decision.
12. What offences will affect the Board's decision?
The Board does not operate on a policy of automatic exclusion. This means there are no offences which will automatically exclude you from becoming registered. The Board will consider each case on its merits, taking into account the specific circumstances of the individual.
The prime consideration in the Board’s decision-making process is ensuring the integrity of the health professionals practising in Queensland, and in particular:
- To protect the public by ensuring health care is delivered by registrants in a professional, safe and competent way; and
- To uphold the standards of practice within the profession; and
- To maintain public confidence in the profession.
13. What happens if I do not disclose a criminal history and the check is positive?
Applicants must certify that the personal information they provide is true and correct. If it is subsequently discovered, that you have provided false or misleading documents or information you may be liable under s210 of your Registration Act.
You may risk deregistration under your Registration Act, and also be liable for other penalties which may include significant fines or imprisonment, should the Board seek to have the breach prosecuted.
14. What if I disagree with the Board's decision?
If you disagree with the Boards decision to refuse your application for registration, or to impose conditions upon registration, you may lodge an appeal to the District Court of Queensland.
You will be advised of the Board’s decision in writing. This correspondence will include the Board’s decision and reasons for such, as well as details of your appeal rights and any relevant timeframes in which you must lodge your appeal.
15. What happens if my criminal history changes while I am registered?
Registrants must advise the Board of certain convictions within 30 days of the conviction pursuant to section 385A of the Health Practitioners (Professional Standards) Act 1999.
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