Loitering Near Schools

– section 49N of the Crimes Act 1958

Loitering near schools is when someone has been found guilty of a sexual offence or a child pornography offence. They are found hanging around a school or a place where there are children.

Examples of Loitering Near Schools
  • A man is found guilty of sexually assaulting a child and following his release from prison he is found by the Police standing outside a Primary School.
  • A woman is found guilty of possessing child pornography, and is found by Police walking around the outside of a children’s dance hall.
What are some of the possible defences to a charge of Loitering Near Schools?
  • You have a reasonable excuse for being at the place.
  • You did not know it was a school.

There are other possible defences, depending on the circumstances surrounding the alleged offending. Each matter is unique and requires an individual approach and strategy.

Questions in cases like this
  • Why were you at the place?
  • What were you doing when the Police found you there?
  • Do you have a lawful reason for being there?

Maximum penalty and Court that deals with this charge

The maximum penalty for this offence is level 6 imprisonment (5 years) or a level 6 fine (600 penalty units).

The Magistrates’ Court generally hears these charges.

“Were you hanging around a school?”
What is the legal definition of Loitering Near Schools?

When a person who has been found guilty of a sexual offence, or a child pornography offence, is found loitering near a school or other place where there are often children. Without a reasonable excuse for being at the place.


The section that covers this offence is section 49N of the Crimes Act 1958.

What can you be sentenced to for this charge?

In these cases your sentence could vary greatly depending on the circumstances of your case. For example if you have been found guilty of a serious sexual offence, like raping a child, and you are found observing children outside a school and don’t have a lawful excuse for being there, then you are likely to face imprisonment; particularly if this is a repeat offence. However, if you are found guilty of a minor sexual offence and you are found near a park where some children are playing, you may get a fine or a Community Corrections Order.

Other Important Resources