The Sex Offenders Register in Victoria is governed by the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004. The register contains information about people (registrable offenders) who have committed certain sex offences (registrable offences).
The purpose of the register is to:
- make offenders keep police informed of their whereabouts and their personal details for a specified period of time
- reduce the chances of a person re-offending
- help police investigate any future offences
- stop registered sex offenders from volunteering or working in child-related areas.
A person who is convicted of a registrable offence may be entered into the Sex Offenders Register in Victoria.
There are four classes of registrable offence.
Class 1 offences include:
- sexual penetration of a child
- compelling sexual penetration of a child
- ongoing sexual abuse of a person under 16
- aggravated sexual servitude
- facilitating sexual offences against a child
- certain sexual activities with a child outside of Australia.
Class 2 offences include:
- sexual assault offences against a child
- assault with the intent to commit a sexual offence against a child
- a threat to commit a sexual offence against a child
- performance of an act of indecency with child
- grooming of a child for sexual conduct
- indecent acts with a cognitively impaired person by providers of medical or therapeutic services, or special programs
- abducting or detaining a child
- producing, possessing, or procuring a child for child pornography
- inducing or causing a child to take part in sex work.
Class 3 and 4 offences
Adults who commit certain offences against other adults may also be listed on the register if they commit Class 3 or 4 offences. The court will make this order if it thinks the offender could be a risk to the sexual safety of others in the community.
Class 3 and 4 offences include:
- sexual penetration
- compel sexual penetration
- indecent assault
- assault with the intent to rape
- providers of medical or therapeutic services or providers of special programs who perform an act of indecency with a person with a cognitive impairment
- abduction or detention
- procure sexual penetration by making threats or acting fraudulently
- sexual servitude.
As well as those sentenced for a registrable offence in Victoria, any person who has reporting obligations in any other state or territory, or any other country, is a registrable offender in Victoria.
A registrable offender who doesn’t comply with their reporting obligations, or who gives false or misleading information when reporting, is guilty of an offence and may be sentenced to pay a fine of $36,400, or serve a maximum of 2 or 5 years imprisonment, depending on the breach.
A person on the Sex Offenders Register in Victoria must report their details to the police, generally within 7 days of release from custody, sentencing, or entering Victoria (if they have been in Victoria for 14 consecutive days), and again each year. Any changes to details must be reported within 7 days.
The details which must be reported include:
- name (including former names) and date of birth
- address and telephone number
- email address and any internet, instant messaging, and chat room user names
- personal details of any children with whom they have contact
- details of distinct permanent marks or tattoos even if removed
- full details of any job they do
- full details of any car they own or drive.
If a person who is on the register plans to leave Victoria for at least 2 days they must give the following details to the police 7 days before leaving:
- the State, Territory or country to which they are going
- their travel dates
- their intended destinations and where they will stay while they are there
- the date of return to Victoria, or a statement that they are not returning.
The person must report to the police within 7 days of returning to Victoria if they travelled interstate.
If the person is going overseas, they must produce their passport and travel documents prior to leaving, and they must report again within 1 day of their return.
Reporting periods and offences – adult offenders
If listed on the Sex Offenders Register in Victoria, the length of the reporting obligation period depends upon the offence:
- for conviction for one class 1 or two class 2 offences – 15 years
- for conviction for one class 2 offence – 8 years
- for conviction for two or more class 1 offences, or for one class I and one or more class 2 offences, or three or more Class 2 offences – life.
Reporting periods and offences – child offenders
A child who has been found guilty of and sentenced for a Class 1 or 2 offence won’t automatically be classed as a registrable offender, unless the court makes a sex offender registration order.
The court will make an order if it believes that the child may be a risk to the sexual safety of one or more members of the community. They will remain on the register for the following periods:
- for conviction for a single class 2 offence – 4 years
- for convictions for more than one class 2 offence, a class 1 offence, or any combination of class 1 or 2 offences – 7.5 years.
Accessing the Sex Offenders Register in Victoria
The only people who can access the details on the Sex Offenders Register in Victoria are those with police authorisation.
Police can give anyone information from the register if they think it is appropriate. That information can’t include details that identify the registered person.
If an offender discloses they have had contact with a child, the police can give the offender’s information to the Secretary of the Department of Justice. That information can then be passed on to any person if it is for the safety and wellbeing of the child.
The police may also pass information from the register to a government department, public authority, or court to aid law enforcement or court functions.
This article reflects the state of the law as at 22 December 2015. It is intended to be of a general nature only and does not constitute legal advice. If you require legal assistance, please telephone 1300 636 846 or request a consultation at gotocourt.com.au.