A swag of new laws to help police keep tabs on registered sex offenders come into force today.
These changes to the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 will improve community safety and help protect children. The new laws will:
- Give police the power to warn mothers that their new partner is a registered sex offender. This law also applies to guardians or any other person if police are concerned about the safety of a child
- Impose stricter controls on sex offenders who travel out of Australia by making them verify their itinerary and movements when travelling. This will help law enforcement agencies investigate child sex tourism offences, create greater accountability for travelling sex offenders and help protect the safety of children in countries outside Australia
- Create indictable offences for registered sex offenders who do not report changes in their personal details or give false or misleading information to police
- Help police investigate child sex offences – particularly historical ones – by removing the requirement that they destroy the registered sex offender’s file after they come off the register. This includes any intelligence gathered, documents, fingerprints, fingerscans and photographs
- Tighten the definition of what constitutes contact with children to include irregular contact and online and social media
- Reduce from 14 days to seven days the time registered sex offenders have to tell police of a change in their details, such as address
- Reduce from 14 consecutive days to two days the time that a registered sex offender can be interstate without telling police
- Formalise arrangements that allow agencies such as Victoria Police, Corrections Victoria and child protection workers to exchange the information they need to protect children.
The sex offenders register was established in 2004. It ensures child sex offenders at the end of their sentence are monitored even after they are released from prison.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Police, Wade Noonan
"These are sensible and considered measures that will help keep our community safe.’’
"Police will be able to keep better track of registered sex offenders and impose stricter controls on those people on the register.’’
“These laws will help improve child safety by giving police the power to tell parents and guardians their new partner is a registered sex offender.’’
Reviewed 19 August 2020