Child Protection Offender Registry (Qld)
The Australian Parliament recognises that any risk to the lives or sexual safety of children is unacceptable. In order to manage and supervise convicted sex offenders, the Australian National Child Offender Register keeps details of all registered sexual offenders. An Australian Child Protection Offender Reporting scheme has also been established by legislation in each Australian state and territory. In Queensland, the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004 (the Act) establishes the Queensland Child Protection Offender Registry. This article outlines how the Child Protection Offender Registry works.
What purpose does the Child Protection Offender Registry serve?
The Act requires offenders who have been found guilty of sexual or other serious offences against children to inform the police and keep them informed of their whereabouts and other personal details to enable compliance management and monitoring of reportable offenders in the community.
The purposes of the Act are:
(a) to protect children and their sexual safety; and
(b) to require particular offenders who have been found guilty of particular offences against children to keep police informed of their details for a period of time after their release into the community—
(i) to reduce the likelihood that they will re-offend; and
(ii) to facilitate the investigation and prosecution of any future offences that the offender may commit.
Schedule 1 of the Act contains a list of prescribed offences which apply to the register. The offences include:
- carnal knowledge of a child under 16, procuring a child for carnal knowledge, including through the internet or indecent treatment of a child under 16;
- unlawful sodomy or incest;
- taking a child for immoral purposes;
- involvement in child prostitution;
- rape or attempted rape;
- having an ongoing sexual relationship with a child;
- involving a child in making child exploitation material or making, distributing, or possessing, child exploitation material;
- obscene publications and exhibitions;
- possession of, or making, an objectionable computer game or film;
Orders under the Act
The Act provides for the making of orders against particular offenders who commit sexual, or other serious offences against children to—
(I) prohibit them from engaging in conduct posing a risk to the safety or wellbeing of a particular child or children, or of children generally; or
(ii) require the offenders to do particular things to reduce the risk to the safety or wellbeing of a particular child or children, or of children generally.
What are persons on the Child Protection Offender Registry required to do?
The reporting scheme requires persons found guilty of reportable offences to report in the register and imposes obligations for a period of between 2 ½ years and life, depending on the severity and timing of the offences and the offender’s age at the time an offence was committed.
The details an offender is required to give includes but is not limited to, addresses of work and residence, any aliases, the make and model of any vehicles, email addresses and internet usernames, details of any internet or phone use or plan, details of tattoos or permanent marks (with photographs), names of any club or association an offender is a member.
The information contained in the register is confidential, only authorised people are able to access the register, and such information cannot be disclosed to any other persons other than other authorised persons.
By law, the Chief Executive of Corrective Services can disclose information if it is considered to be in the public interest, such as if community members, school or daycare centres need to know of an offender’s residential address or place of employment. If an individual is receiving any such information, they must sign a confidentiality agreement before it is released.
Police and the courts have the power to monitor and track offenders. If an offender has had any ‘reportable contact’ with a person under 18 they must provide the name, date of birth, address and phone number of that person. Reportable contact can be physical contact, communication in person or in writing, but it does not include children an offender is familiar with such are friends or a child of whom that person has supervision.
Usually, offenders will be prohibited from gaining employment in certain areas involving children, such as teaching, nursing and daycare.
The scheme and the register are intended to protect the community by reducing the risk of re-offending by making information about child sex offenders more readily available to investigating officers and prosecution. Managing the registry is the responsibility of Queensland Police. Once a person’s name is on the register it can only be removed with the consent of the police.
An offender must report to police within seven days of being sentenced for an offence or seven days from the date of release from custody if the person has been detained. Failing to comply with any reporting obligation is an offence punishable by a maximum penalty of 5 years imprisonment or a fine of $35,340.
If you require legal advice or representation in any legal matter please contact Armstrong Legal.