Changes to sex offender register reporting obligations

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Amelia RamsayThe article Changes to sex offender register reporting obligations is written by Amelia Ramsay, Partner, Doogue + George Defence Lawyers.

Amelia is a Partner based in our City office with 10 years’ experience in criminal law. Amelia provides advice and representation in all criminal law jurisdictions across Victoria.

News About New Sex Offender Registry LawsAs of June 1st 2015, changes have been made to the Sex Offender Register reporting obligations.  The reporting obligations for those on the register are quite involved, so naturally, some concerns have been raised as to the impact these amendments will have.

Rumours have been circulating, including that all sex offenders will be required to wear electronic monitoring bracelets. There is no truth to this and at this point in time, cannot be affected by changes to the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), as monitoring bracelets are a matter for Corrections and governed by different legislation.

Section 42D of the SORA is the major concern for most of those affected by the changes. S.42D gives power to “an authorised person” to disclose information if that authorised person believes on reasonable grounds that the disclosure of the information is in the interests of the safety and wellbeing of the child referred to in the information.  The authorised person can then disclose, to any other person, the name of the offender; details of offences resulting in registration; date of sentence; length of reporting period; and ANY other information they believe is in the interests of the safety and wellbeing of the child involved.

The most significant change to reporting is the obligation to report “contact”, in its expanded definition (below), within 24 hours.  The new section 4A:-

For the purposes of this Act, a registrable offender has contact with a child if the offender—

(a)     resides with the child; or
(b)     stays overnight at a place of residence where the child resides or is staying overnight; or
(c)     cares for, or supervises, the child; or
(d)     provides the offender’s contact details to the child or receives the child’s contact details from the child; or
(e)     engages in any of the following with the child for the purpose of forming a personal relationship with the child—

(i)     any form of actual physical contact;
(ii)     any form of oral communication (whether face to face, by telephone or by use of the internet);
(iii)     any form of written communication (whether electronic or otherwise).”.

As well as exactly what needs to be reported.

“(e)     the name of each child with whom he or she has contact;

(ea)     in respect of each child with whom he or she has contact

(i)     the child’s age, residential address and telephone number; or
(ii)     if the child’s age, residential address or telephone number is not known to him or her—the location where the contact takes place;”.

There has also been a shortening of timeframes for all reporting.

An easy reference guide has been provided to all Registered Offenders by VicPol.  We have reproduced this information in the table below, which outlines the circumstances of the contact, what that may involve and the reporting obligation and timeframes.

Circumstances Considerations / Conditions Reporting Obligations / Timeframe
I’m having contact with a child under 18 years This includes physical contact or any form of oral or written communication, including online/internet Report the child(ren)’s name, age, residential address and phone number within 24 hours
I’m staying overnight at my friend/partner’s house Are there children under 18 years living at that address? Report the child(ren)’s name, age, residential address and phone number within 24 hours
I’m staying overnight at my friend/partner’s house Do you spend/intend to spend 7 nights there in a year? Report address within 24 hours of 7th night
I’m moving address Report the new address with documents proving address Within 24 hours IN PERSON
I’m homeless Where do you usually spend time and/or sleep? Report this location within 24 hours IN PERSON
I have a new job Remember you have to report being self-employed and volunteer workReport name of employer, nature of employment, work location and any email address/phone numbers Report within 7 days
I’m going interstate for 2 or more days Report travel plans at least 7 days before your tripIf you will be in another state for more than 7 days, you may have to report to the register in that state Report your return within 14 days of return to Victoria
I’m going overseas Report your FULL itinerary including flights and accomodation Report at least 7 days before departure
I’ve arrived back in Victoria after being overseas You will need to prove where you have travelled/stayed with documents Report within 3 days of your return
I have a new/renewed passport Your case manager will take a photocopy Report within 7 days
I have a new vehicle Report make, model, registration and colour Report within 7 days
I’ve been driving my mate’s car/ hire car / work vehicle Have you driven it or intend to drive it 14 times in a year? Report make, model, rego and colour after 14th time you drive it within 7 days
I have a new home/mobile phone number Does this number have internet access? Report phone number and internet connection within 7 days
I’ve joined a new club/organisation/gym Do they also have members/participants who are children? Report name of club/organisation/gym within 7 days
any child contact within 24 hours
I have a new internet account/email or messaging service Report if you cancel or delete any accounts Report your new or cancelled username within 7 days
I usually have an interview at this time of year It is your responsibility to contact your Case Manager Contact your Case Manager and make an appointment for an interview within your annual interview month
I’ve just been released from prison You will be interviewed to record your personal details Report within 7 days via
1800 235 733
I have a new tattoo Your tattoos will be photographed Report within 7 days
We offer a free first consultation with people on the Sex Offender Registry who would like to discuss any issues they are having regarding compliance or possible suspension of their reporting obligation.

Date Published: 29 July 2015

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