A criminal record can follow you for life. It can negatively impact your everyday activities without a moment’s notice. The good news is you can do something about it. Many people don’t realize that an old criminal charge can hinder you from volunteering. This is especially a problem for parents. Children are involved in many extra-curricular activities. Often classes will organize volunteer activities for local charities. They also need parents to coach or provide other support to their sports teams. Then there are the field trips. You may be asked to chaperone. Often schools and volunteer organizations are required by law to do criminal record searches on potential volunteers. This is common when the organizations are involved with children or other vulnerable individuals. When faced with the possibility of a record check, many parents just say no to these opportunities. Often they feel guilty about their children’s feelings or about not doing their part to help other parents.
A record suspension can help alleviate this stress. It gives you the freedom to spend time working with what you love. This may be with your kids or with another cause close to your heart. Here’s what you need to know about volunteer record checks:.
Volunteering and types of record checks
Police Criminal Record (PCR) Check:
A PCR form is usually given to volunteer applicants to self disclose their criminal record. This is then sent to the police who will confirm whether their records match what the applicant disclosed. It is the least invasive form of record check. It will disclose:
- Criminal sentences that have not received a pardon
- Absolute discharges from the past year
- Conditional discharges from the past three years
Police Information Check (PIC):
This search includes local and federal police databases and records. It will also look at records from other police force authorities. This information is usually released to the applicant. The applicant can then pass along the information to the volunteer organization.
Police Vulnerable Sector Check:
This type of check is used in limited cases. This record check includes any information from a PIC. It also includes fingerprinting. In this case, a pardon (or record suspension) for sexual offences may also be disclosed. The results of this check may be released to the applicant or to the organization.
What can I do if I have a criminal record?
If a volunteer organization knows of your criminal record, they may still consider your application on a few factors. They may consider the nature of the position, the offence and whether the record is relevant. Being granted a record suspension will legally seal your criminal record. You will not have to worry about your past hindering your future ability to volunteer.
Are you thinking of volunteering at your child’s school or sports team? Are you concerned about criminal record checks? Contact us today for a free consultation.