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Sexual Conviction Record Check (SCRC) Scheme in Hong Kong

Learn everything about the Sexual Conviction Record Check (SCRC) scheme to facilitate responsible hiring practices and ensure the safety of children and mentally incapacitated individuals.
Representative image of conviction file, denoting the checks under Hong Kong's Sexual Conviction Record Check scheme

Sexual abuse against children and mentally incapacitated persons (MIPs) is a pressing concern that demands prompt action and quick redressal. According to the latest data, Hong Kong recorded 1394 cases of child abuse in 2023. This is 12% more than the cases reported in 2022. Evidently, the significant rise in child abuse cases underscores the vulnerability of children to both physical and mental abuse. In such a scenario, the Sexual Conviction Record Check (SCRC) scheme acts as a first line of defense. It helps the employers hiring in child-related services, to legally verify if their potential hires are listed in the sex offender registry. Read on to understand the background, applicability, and other important facts about the SCRC scheme.

Background of the SCRC Scheme

The Hong Kong government, through the Hong Kong Police Force (HKPF), has implemented a sex offender registry policy. Accordingly, under the clauses of the Sex Offenders Act 1997, sexual offenders must register themselves and inform their details to the local police for monitoring purposes. While the debate surrounding access to the registry continues, the SCRC scheme empowers the local police to disclose crucial information about registered offenders to specific persons such as school principals (with due consent from the applicant). This facilitates the identification of potential risks of harm to the children in their schools.

What is the Sexual Conviction Record Check Scheme?

The SCRC scheme is an administrative scheme that consolidates a list of individuals with convictions under section 47 to section 126 of the ‘Crimes Ordinance’ that includes offenses like rape and indecent conduct against a child under sixteen years of age.

The SCRC scheme helps assess an applicant’s suitability for roles involving close interactions with children and MIPs, thereby safeguarding them from the risk of sexual abuse.

Employers can voluntarily participate in the scheme, allowing them to request sexual conviction record checks for eligible employees from the police. This process enables employers to ensure safety and security within their workforce.

Since the inception of this scheme, its scope and application have significantly expanded. By the end of the year 2023, the Hong Kong police received more than 580,000 new applications and 120,000 renewal applications, indicating the significance and acceptance of the SCRC scheme. 

Moreover, this scheme aids in identifying ex-offenders who may pose a continued risk of sexual violence against innocent children. With the applicant’s consent, the police electronically transmit the outcome (presence or absence of a record) to the employer.

(Please Note: The employers can only verify if applicants have a record for specific sexual offenses, they can not access the exact details.)

Applicability of the SCRC Scheme:

Since the scheme is voluntary in nature, the employers have the discretion to decide when and how to utilize its provisions. Here is a detailed overview of the scheme’s applicability:

  • Eligible employers:
    • Employers hiring workers responsible for caring for children include schools, daycare institutions, social service agencies, and healthcare providers dealing with vulnerable populations. These workers may also be referred to as MIPs.
  • Eligible employees:
    • New employees or prospective employees.
    • Existing employees whose contracts have been renewed.
    • Staff engaged by external service providers working on matters related to minors or MIPs

Non-applicability of the SCRC Scheme:

While the SCRC scheme primarily targets individuals in education and caregiving, it has limitations as it excludes certain categories;

  • Private tutors and volunteers.
  • The outsourced service providers whose jobs do not require regular contact with children and MIPs.
  • Contractual staff engaged for maintenance works, technicians, guest speakers, etc.
  • Contractual staff who work in the same school under continuously renewed contracts without a break.

Process of Application for Sexual Conviction Record Check:

The process of applying for the sexual conviction record check is simple and straightforward. However, it requires adherence to specific guidelines as mentioned below:

  • The eligible applicants must submit their applications to the SCRC office of the HKPF. Also, the applicants should schedule appointments through the ‘Online Booking System’ (OBS) or the Auto Telephone Answering System (ATAS).
  • All appointment requests should be made at least a day before the desired date. Walk-in applications are not accepted.
  • The applicant should bring the necessary documents including their identity card and documentary proof of possible employment related to children or MIPs from the relevant employer.
  • If an applicant under the age of eighteen seeks a sexual conviction record check, he/she must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to sign a consent form.

FAQs Regarding the SCRC Scheme

Can a school dismiss an employee after their employment if they are found to have a sexual conviction record?

If an employee with a sexual conviction record purposefully withholds information or provides misleading information to hide their record, then the school can take disciplinary action.

Can educational institutions request their current employees to undergo SCRC?

Since the SCRC covers prospective employees and new hires, educational institutions should refrain from requesting their existing employees to undergo SCRC, unless the current staff’s contract is up for renewal.

Can an organization request self-employed persons (eg- drivers, sports coaches, etc.) to undergo SCRC?

If a self-employed person provides service to children or MIPs in an organization, the organization may request the person to undergo SCRC. Their “work” should cover services provided to that organization under a contract of employment, apprenticeship, or self-employment basis.

Can an organization or enterprise only request male employees to undergo SCRC?

Sexual offenses may be committed by both males and females. Therefore, to protect children and MIPs from sexual abuse, the HKPF suggests that organizations should request both their male and female employees to undergo SCRC. There should not be any discrimination based on gender.

If an eligible employee applies for the SCRC voluntarily, but the employer refuses to issue documentary proof, can the employee still apply for the check?

The SCRC scheme only covers applications made by eligible applicants at the request of employers. Hence, an applicant must produce proof of possible employment from the employer to be accepted.

If an applicant does not have a conviction record against the specified list of sexual offenses, can the applicant request the Police to give him a “clean” record in writing?

No provision under the SCRC scheme allows the police to give any written ‘clean’ record. The SCRC verifies whether a person appears on the official records.


What is the process of making payment for the SCRC?

The fee for a sexual conviction record check under SCRC is HK$140 per applicant. Accordingly, one can make the payment via cash, cheque, or octopus card at the SCRC Office. Cross-cheque payments should be made to “The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region”.

The SCRC is voluntary in nature. Therefore the employers do not have any legal obligation to conduct SCRC. However, it is the employers’ responsibility to utilize all precautionary measures to protect children and MIPs from sexual abuse.

Can an employer request an overseas job applicant to undergo the check?

If an applicant comes from outside the country, the employers can still request them to undergo SCRC. However, it is important to note that the check results under SCRC only cover local conviction records. In such cases, the Hong Kong government suggests that employers request the applicants to provide a ‘Certificate of No Criminal Conviction’ or other equivalent document issued by their respective government authorities to ascertain they do not have any overseas sexual conviction record.

Can the employer directly access the details of an applicant’s sexual conviction report?

No, not directly. If an applicant has a sexual conviction record, the police will provide the conviction record to the applicant. The employer can then obtain a copy of such record when necessary from the applicant. Alternatively, the police can electronically transmit the outcome (presence or absence of a record) to the employer with due consent from the applicant.

(For more information on the SCRC scheme, please visit the FAQ section of HKPF’s official website.)

To conclude, crime against the vulnerable section of society is not only alarming but also heartbreaking. Given the fragility of children and MIPs, the implementation of the SCRC scheme has provided employers with significant opportunities to prevent instances of sexual abuse at their organizations. However, the successful implementation of this scheme largely depends on collective action from employers, government, and regulatory authorities to ensure its effective implementation without violating the applicant’s privacy and advocating the offender’s rehabilitation.

For further guidance on navigating the Sexual Conviction Record Check (SCRC), get in touch with our verification experts. 

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