Communities and Justice

Extinguishment of historical homosexual convictions

On 24 November 2014, the Criminal Records Act 1991 was amended to allow historical homosexual offences to be extinguished.

Homosexuality was decriminalised in NSW in 1984, but prior to this time consensual sex between gay men was a criminal act. People with convictions for these historical offences have dealt with the stigma of a criminal conviction for a 'sex' offence which can affect employment opportunities, volunteering and travel. These amendments allow a person with an eligible historical homosexual conviction to apply to the Secretary of the Department of Communities and Justice to have the conviction extinguished.

Under the changes made to the Act, the Secretary has the authority to decide that an eligible conviction should be extinguished but only if he or she is satisfied that the other person involved in the sexual activity consented to the sexual activity and was above the age of consent. The Secretary has powers under the Act to require certain persons or bodies to provide information for the purposes of making a decision under the Act.

2024 marks the 40th anniversary of the decriminalisation of homosexuality in New South Wales. On 6 June 2024, the NSW Premier, the Honourable Chris Minns, gave the State apology in Parliament to those convicted under discriminatory laws that criminalised consensual homosexual acts.

For further information, please see the Extinguishment of Historical Homosexual Offences: fact sheet (PDF, 114.6 KB).

Download the Application to extinguish a historical homosexual offence form (DOCX, 47.1 KB).

If you have difficulty accessing any of the documents on this page or to request an accessible version of a document, please contact the DCJ Legal Branch on phone (02) 8346 1388.

Last updated:

06 Jun 2024