At Woods & Co Lawyers we have experience in dealing with many clients who have fallen under the very harsh provisions of the National Sex Register. One only needs to look at the so-called public view to realise that in general the public have little understanding nor patience or tolerance in this area. That might be understandable in some cases but as per usual, the net has been cast wider than you might think.
Unfortunately, there is so much misinformation out there and our Parliament has in our view failed to adequately address many of the issues.
For instance, a 20-year-old male goes out with a girl who is 16 years old and turning 17 years shortly. They have sexual intercourse by consent. There is no complaint at the time and they continue to date for over 4 years. Upon breaking up things turn nasty and a complaint is made of Unlawful Sexual Intercourse. The client is charged and makes admissions. He is on the Child Sex Register for life. Is that really what we want in our society? We have dealt with cases like this and would hate to think a young man would be branded a paedophile for life.
At Woods & Co we will fight to protect your rights. While what we do is considered unsavory by some, we are committed to providing clients with forthright and honest advice whatever predicament you have found yourself in. Please call our team and make an appointment
CHILD SEX OFFENDERS REGISTRATION
Are you a registrable offender? Are you on the Australian National Child Offender Register (ANCOR)?
You may well be if:
- You have been convicted of a child sex offence; or
- You are the subject of a paedophile restraining order.
If you are a registrable offender, you must begin reporting to the authorities. How long you have to report, and what you need to report, depends upon a number of factors. It can vary from around 8 years to the rest of your life.
Facts that affect how long you have to report:
- Whether it is a class 1 or class 2 offence;
- How many offences;
- Whether you are a registrable or serious registrable offender.
We can assist you if:
- You are being investigated by police; or
- Are currently before the Court; or
- You have already been sentenced for a child sex offence, whether recently or decades ago.
You may need assistance to understand exactly what you are required to report both at the initial report and every year thereafter. For example, questions might include:
- What exactly constitutes reportable contact with a child?
- What should you do if unexpected reportable contact occurs?
It is important to understand fully your obligations under the Act.
Offences for failing to comply with your reporting obligations or presenting false or misleading information when reporting can attract penalties of up to 5 years imprisonment.
Some people can apply to the Supreme Court to have their reporting conditions suspended. This is possible where:
- A person is required to report to the authorities at ANCOR for the rest of their life;
- 15 years have passed since sentencing or release from custody;
- It can be shown the person is no longer a risk to children.
On multiple occasions, we have made successful applications for the suspension of our clients’ reporting obligations.
Similarly, we assist our clients to apply for a declaration by the Commissioner of the South Australian Police (SAPOL) to enable them to:
- Re-engage in child-related work; or
- Modify their reporting obligations.
Such applications can be made 12 months into the reporting period.
A person can only make an application for such a declaration if their offending involved an indecent assault, an act of gross indecency, or unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 17 but above the age of 13. There are other restrictions on who can apply and again we must satisfy the Commissioner that our client does not pose a risk to children.
If you are a registrable offender, you must notify a parent or guardian both that you are a registrable offender and what offence led you to become a registrable offender, if you intend to reside with a child or stay overnight at a place where a child is present. The Act still requires you to tell parents and guardians, even after you no longer have to report.
Where a person fails to tell a parent or guardian that they are on the child sex register, they can be prosecuted and sentenced to up to 5 years imprisonment.
We have campaigned for the South Australian Government to have this legislation changed. In our view, this section creates the most onerous and shameful obligation under the Act. Surely if the Court has the power to dispense with the need to report to the ANCOR altogether, Parliament should not require this obligation to remain irrespective. It cannot be in the public interest to brand people for life in all cases. Despite our representations to the Attorney General the Act is yet to change. Not all offenders deserve to be on the Register for life.