Community Protection Offender Register (WA)
In Western Australia, when a person is convicted and sentenced for certain sexual offences involving children, the person is automatically placed on the Community Protection Offender Register and required to report to police regularly. The register was created under the Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004.
Who goes on the register?
A “reportable offender” is someone who has been sentenced for a “reportable offence”. A reportable offence can be a Class 1, 2 and 3 offence or one which results in the making of an offender reporting order.
Class 1 offences include:
- murder of a child;
- sexual intercourse with a child.
Class 2 offences include:
- manslaughter of a child;
- indecent acts;
- child pornography;
- child kidnapping;
- child exploitation;
- child prostitution.
A Class 3 offence is an offence that is not a Class 1 offence or a Class 2 offence.
A “corresponding reportable offender” is a person from a foreign jurisdiction who has been, and would be, required to report in that jurisdiction. They fall within the class of people required to report in Western Australia under the Act.
If a court sentences a person to an offence that is not a Class1 or Class 2 offence but it is satisfied the person poses a risk to the lives or the sexual safety of a person, the court can make an order that the person must be included in the register. The court can do this of its own accord or on application by police. The court can consider factors including:
- evidence given during the proceedings for the offence;
- any document or record served on the offender by police;
- any evidence given by the victim in relation to the order;
- any pre-sentence report;
- any mediation report.
What details go on the register?
Under the Act, the register must contain for each offender:
- their name (including any past names), address and date of birth;
- details of each Class1, 2 or 3 offence of which they have been found guilty or with which they have been charged;
- details of each offence that led to the making of an offender reporting order in the past;
- details of any protection order or supervision order made under the High Risk Serious Offenders Act 2020;
- the date of sentencing for any reportable offence;
- the date they were released from custody for a reportable offence;
- any relevant information related to reporting obligations;
- any other information deemed relevant.
A reportable offender is required to report within 7 days of being sentenced for a reportable offence or within 7 days of being released from prison, whichever is the later.
At the first report, the reportable offender must provide details including:
- specifics of any passport held;
- their regular phone number and email address;
- the name of any internet service provider they regularly use;
- any username, code or password they use online;
- the names and ages of any children who live in their household and with whom they have regular unsupervised contact;
- any employment;
- any affiliation with a club or organisation that involves children;
- any vehicle owned or generally driven;
- any tattoos or distinguishing marks;
- any regular travel out of Western Australia.
A reportable offender must report their personal information annually. Any change in personal information must be reported to police within 7 days unless the change is related to living with a child or having unsupervised contact with a child, in which case the reporting must be done within 24 hours.
A reportable offender must also notify police and provide details if they intend to leave their usual residence for 7 or more consecutive days but remain within Western Australia, or if they intend to travel interstate or overseas.
How long does a person stay on the register?
A person is required to be on the register from when they are sentenced or from when they are released from prison if they are imprisoned for the offence. The period the person must remain on the register depends on the offence. For instance, for a single Class 2 offence, a reportable offender must remain on the register and comply with reporting requirements for 8 years. For a single Class 1 offence or 2 Class 3 offences, the period is 15 years. For a Class 1 offence followed by a Class 1, 2 or 3 offence, the person is a reportable offender for life.
Non-compliance with register reporting
Unless a reportable offender has a reasonable excuse, they must comply with reporting obligations. In assessing whether a person has a reasonable excuse, the court must consider:
- the person’s age;
- whether the person has a disability that affects their ability to understand, or to comply with, those obligations;
- whether the person was adequately informed of their obligations, having regard to the person’s circumstances;
- any matter prescribed by regulations;
- any other matters the court regards as appropriate.
The maximum penalty for non-compliance is 5 years. If the matter is heard in a local court, the penalty is a fine of $12,000 and imprisonment for 2 years.
Information held in the Community Protection Offender Register must not be disclosed except:
- in the course of a person’s duty;
- as required or authorised under the Act;
- in relation to an offence under the Act;
- to apply for, or to vary or revoke, a protection order;
- with consent of police or the person to whom the information relates;
- when it is permitted under regulations.
Police are permitted to publish personal details, including a photo, if the reportable offender has failed to comply with reporting obligations, or provided false or misleading information, and the offender’s whereabouts are unknown.
Community Protection website
The confidentiality provisions mean the public does not have ready access to register information.
However, the state’s Community Protection website allows access to information on Western Australia’s most dangerous and high-risk sex offenders.
It provides 3 tiers of information access:
- Missing offenders: this tier provides details and photos of sex offenders who have failed to report as required, provided false or misleading information to police, or whose location is not known to police.
- Local search: this tier provides photos of high-risk offenders in a particular suburb or surrounding suburbs.
- Disclosure scheme: this tier allows a parent or guardian of a child to inquire about a particular person who has regular contact with their child.
Ties 2 and 3 require an application, which can be made online.
For advice or representation in any legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.