Queensland’s Child Protection Offender Reporting scheme was established with the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004 (“the Act”). This child offender reporting scheme provides a nationwide requirement on child sex offenders, and other defined offenders against children, to keep police informed of their whereabouts and other details once they are released into the community for a certain period of time.

These conditions are not intended to form part of the punishment for the offence but are aimed at protecting the community by reducing the possibility that the person will reoffend and also to assist police in locating offenders if they re-offend.

The Act details all the offences for which the offender must report. Sexual offences against a child such as incest, indecent treatment of a child, rape, procuring sexual acts and carnal knowledge with or of a child are listed as named offences. If the court finds a person guilty of an offence that is not named, they may still make an order that the person comply with the reporting conditions.

There are some circumstances where the offender is not required to report after being found guilty of one of the named offences. For example, if the offender was not sentenced to a term of imprisonment or a requirement that the person be under a supervision (such as probation).

The Act specifies the time when an offender must report after being released and varies between 28 days and 90 days depending on the offence type and the order of the court. Some of the details which must be reported are the offender’s personal information, address, employment, motor vehicle details and whether they have contact with any children. Additionally, DNA samples must be provided if requested by the police and also the offender must provide details of online accounts such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.

Offenders must report three times a year and are required to immediately update their details if they change. An amendment in June 2014 to the legislation allows offenders to report via technology and online which has made the process much more efficient and less onerous on the reporter.

If a reportable offender fails to comply with their obligations without reasonable excuse, they may be subject to a maximum penalty of 500 penalty units or 5 years imprisonment. If a person gives misleading information, they are liable for a maximum penalty of 300 penalty units or 5 years imprisonment.

The court can take these offences very seriously. In the matter of Wosomo v Place [2010] QDC 529, the offender failed to report within 28 days of being released from custody. He was originally sentenced to a term of wholly suspended imprisonment but on appeal received a fine. Brooke Winter Solicitors and Advisers have appeared for clients charged with offences against the Act and on each occasion have obtained the result of a minimal fine for the client.

If you are charged with an offence against the Child Protection (Offender Reporting) Act or need advice on your reporting requirements, contact Brooke Winter Solicitors and Advisers on 1300 066 669.

This information is provided as general information only and is not intended as specific advice. You should seek legal advice before acting on this information.

Current as at 4th August 2015