Sex Offender’s Register – Implications & Responsibilities

The sex offender’s register is a central information register for the storage of data on individuals who have been convicted of registrable sex offences.[1] The register is not publically accessible and only those who have police authorisation are able to access the information contained in the register. However, Police do have discretion to provide the information of an individual to someone else or another government department or public authority, but only under necessary circumstances. [2]

Who appears on the sex offender’s register?

Anyone who has been convicted of a registrable sex offence may have their information and personal details stored on the register. There are 4 classes of offences, which vary according to the degree and nature of the charge. If you are convicted of a Class 1 or 2 offence, you will be subject to a mandatory registration order.[3] For Class 3 or 4 offences, orders are at the court’s discretion.[4]

The following offence categories are examples only and are not to be treated as an exhaustive list.

Class Offence
Class 1 Offences involving penetration of a child under the age of 16 (e.g. rape or incest).
Class 2 Offences not involving penetration (e.g. Sexual Assault, Assault with intent to rape, and indecent act with child or individual with cognitive impairment) and Child pornography offences or those relating to child prostitution.
Class 3 Offences involving penetration (e.g. rape or incest) of an adult (over 18 years of age).
Class 4 Offences not involving penetration (e.g. Sexual Assault, Sexual Servitude or threats to commit a sexual offence).

If you have reporting obligations in another State, but reside in Victoria, you are subject to the Victorian register.

What information appears on the sex offender’s register?

The information that is stored on the register includes personal details, such as:

  • Full name;
  • Date of birth;
  • Address;
  • Telephone number;
  • Email address;
  • Internet Service Provider;
  • Online profile details (including passwords and user names);
  • Current Occupation and employer;
  • Make and model of car you own;
  • Distinguishable marking (piercings or tattoos); and
  • Details of any children you have regular contact with.

The court is required to notify you of your obligations, the length of your registration and explain your responsibilities to you at the time the order is made for you to be a registrable offender.[5]

Within 7 days of release from prison, you are generally required to report to a police station. You are also required to report if you have the intention to travel interstate and again when you return. You cannot travel overseas unless given specific permission by a ‘competent authority’ to do so, as new laws enable your passport to be cancelled or a renewal application refused.[6]

How long do my details stay on the sex offender’s register?

It depends on the Class of conviction. Class 1 offences are more serious than Class 2. A court may also impose registration orders for Class 3 and 4 offences.

If you were an adult when you were convicted of two or more Class 1 offences or three or more Class 2 offences you will be subject to mandatory lifetime registration. If you were convicted of one Class 1 offence or two of Class 2 offences, your details will feature on the register for 15 years. One count of Class 2 will require registration for 8 years. If you were a child when convicted of an offence, you are not automatically subjected to a registration order.[7] Rather, registration will be at the discretion of the court and the length of time is reduced.

There are limited situations where reporting obligations can be suspended and in exceptional circumstances, an application may be able to be made to have your details removed from the register. However, each case is different and you should obtain legal advice for your situation.

What if I don’t comply with the orders?

Non-compliance with any orders of the court, including reporting obligations under the register or providing false information is an offence. There is a maximum penalty of between 2-5 years imprisonment and or a fine up to $36,400 depending on the circumstances of the breach.

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[1] Sex Offenders Register Act 2004 (Vic).
[2] Sex Offenders Register Act 2004 (Vic) s 63, 64.
[3] Sex Offenders Register Act 2004 (Vic) s 6 and 7.
[4] Sex Offenders Register Act 2004 (Vic) s 11.
[5] Sex Offenders Register Act 2004 (Vic) s 50(1)(5).
[6] Australian Passports Act 2005 (Cth) s 12(1A)(b); Foreign Passports (Law Enforcement and Security Act) 2005 (Cth) s 13(1A)(b).
[7] Sex Offenders Register Act 2004 (Vic) s 6(3)(a).

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