Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I am concerned that I may be living near a registered sex offender. Can I find out more information from the police?
I am concerned that I may be living near a registered sex offender. Can I find out more information from the police?
Presently, the register maintained in each Australian State and Territory of child sex offenders it is not available to the public. Access is primarily restricted to the police and authorised government entities (which may include hospitals, health departments and public housing authorities).
The Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) also operates to limit the availability of information that the police may disclose regarding child sex offenders.
In the past there have been prominent examples of community attempts to build private registers that identify child sex offenders. However, the present legislative regime in Australia does not permit the official disclosure of this information. Thus, there is no guarantee that any community created register will be accurate.
Are there likely to be any legislative changes in this area?
This issue is very divisive in the community and is likely to be the subject of legislative scrutiny in the future. For example, a bill presently before the New South Wales Parliament would require the Commissioner of Police to publish information on the State's register.
However, if you have concerns regarding the safety of your family, it is important to not take matters into your own hands. Speak to a lawyer if you wish to pursue the matter formally.