The law that governs the sex offenders register in WA (Western Australia) is the Community Protection (Offender Reporting) Act 2004. The purposes of the Register, known as the Community Protection Offender Register, include:
- to lessen the chances that convicted offenders will re-offend
- to help police investigate and prosecute any future offences committed
- to allow for publication of information about certain offenders
- to assist courts to make orders banning offenders from participating in certain activities.
A person can be included on the Register if they have at any time been sentenced for a registrable offence.
The penalties for not complying with obligations are $12,000 and imprisonment for 2 years. The information in the Register can only be accessed by authorised persons.
Offences are divided into two categories: class 1 and class 2 offences. For a class 1 offence, a person must report for 15 years. For a class 2 offence the period is 8 years. For subsequent re-offending, a person will report for life.
Class 1 offences include:
- facilitating sexual offences against children occurring outside of WA
- murder of a child
- sexual offences where the victim is under 16 years old
- aggravated sexual penetration
- sexual offences by relatives
- sexual offences against people who are mentally or physically impaired.
Class 2 offences include:
- loitering near, for example, a school or playground (if previously convicted of a registrable offence)
- certain offences regarding child pornography
- sexual acts involving a minor
- burglary where the offender entered the premises intending to commit a sexual or indecent assault on a child
- causing, encouraging or allowing a child to take part in prostitution
- using electronic communication or a carriage service to procure or groom a child under 16 years
- indecently recording a person under 16
- indecent assault of a child
- sexual servitude involving a child
- deceptively recruiting for commercial sexual services.
Those on the Sex Offenders Register in WA must provide all relevant details to the Police and ensure they remain current. These details include:
- name, including previous names and the times that those names were used
- date of birth
- details of passports
- telephone number(s)
- email address(es)
- any internet service provider used
- all user names, codes and passwords used on the internet
- the names and ages of any children living in their house, or with whom they have regular unsupervised contact
- addresses of places they attend where children live
- full details of any employment
- details of any clubs/organisations with which they are involved and which have child members or conduct activities in which children participate
- full details of any motor vehicle owned or driven
- details of permanent distinguishing marks, including tattoos (and details of any that have been removed)
- full details of any convictions outside of WA for a reportable offence or an offence that required them to report
- details of any time spent in custody for a reportable offence since being convicted for this offence (including outside of the state)
- full details of any travel plans for outside of the state that average at least once a month.
The Act specifies how long a person on the Sex Offenders Register in WA is given to report to Police.
- An offender must make their first report within 7 days of being sentenced or of being released from custody, or as directed.
- If an offender who was convicted for an offence outside of WA enters the state and intends to stay for 14 or more days, within 14 days of entering.
- For a person convicted elsewhere but currently in WA, within 7 days of becoming a corresponding reportable offender or 7 days after release from custody, whichever is the later.
- An offender must report their details at least annually.
- Any changes to relevant personal details must be reported within 7 days of the change.
- If the offender intends to be absent from their place of residence for more than 7 days, or if they intend to leave WA, they must report to Police at least 7 days prior to the intended absence.
- Any changes to travel plans while out of the state must be reported as soon as practicable.
- The offender must report to Police within 7 days of their return to WA. If they decide not to leave, they must report within 7 days of making the decision.
- The offender must report any periods of custody since their last report.
The Community Protection Website contains limited details of those on the Sex Offenders Register in WA. There are 3 tiers of disclosure:
- Tier 1 – Missing Sex Offenders Non-Compliant Reportable Offenders. This tier makes public the photographs and personal details of reportable offenders who have either failed to report or have provided false or misleading information to Police and whose whereabouts aren’t known. The details are removed when the offender is located or reports to Police.
- Tier 2 – Local Search Dangerous and High Risk Offenders. This tier allows members of the community to access (some) details, including photographs, of certain dangerous and high-risk offenders who live, in or close by, the same area.
- Tier 3 – Community Protection Disclosure Scheme. This tier allows a parent or guardian to inquire as to whether a specific person is a reportable offender if that person has regular contact with their child or children which is unsupervised. The applicant must provide their full details and those of the child or children, the identity of the other person, and information regarding the level of contact that person has with the child or children. Police will assess the request and decide whether or not to disclose the person’s status as a reportable offender.
This article reflects the state of the law as at 12 February 2016. 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.