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Liberals to deliver public sex offenders register

Sex offenders cause enormous harm to the community with many victims suffering lifelong trauma. Under Daniel Andrews, the number of sexual assaults has increased dramatically, rising 24.35% between 2014 and 2016.

As part of our plan to put the interests of law abiding citizens first, the Liberal Nationals will introduce a ‘Victorian Serious Sex Offenders Public Register’ that will publicly disclose certain details of adult serious sex offenders, including photographs, identifying descriptions and the current area where they live.

This will improve the protection and safety of children, families and the community.

The Victorian Sex Offenders Register is currently governed by the Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 and is tightly restricted with no public access provided.

In 2017, the Victorian Government advised there were 7,193 persons on the Sex Offenders Register, of which approximately 4,000 were active. Inactive people on the register include those who have died or their court ordered period on the Register has expired.

Applications will be made to the newly appointed Commissioner of the Serious Sex Offender Public Register, located within the Department of Justice and Regulation.

As part of the establishment of this public register, the Commissioner will review all sex offenders who are registered on the Sex Offenders Register, and assess which ones pose a sufficient risk to community safety to warrant public disclosure. The same process will operate for future additions to the Register.

In determining which sex offenders warrant public disclosure, the Commissioner will have regard to the existing definitions of serious sex offenders in the Sentencing Act 1991 and the Serious Sex Offenders (Supervision and Detention) Act 2009.

There are three categories of information you can apply for or receive:

  1. Local search

  2. Individual search

  3. Missing Offenders

The Local Search category allows members of the public to request access to information for serious sex offenders that reside in their local area.

The Commissioner will then provide the information of those serious sex offenders who reside in the same local area as the person who has made the request. The Commissioner will determine how many suburbs will be included or the size of the region.

Information provided will include photographs, the specific suburb the serious sex offender resides in and other identifying information (such as tattoos) of serious sex offenders.

The Individual Search allows an applicant to request if specific individuals are serious sex offenders.

Applicants with genuine reasons, such as parents or guardians of a child or vulnerable adult, can request access to specific information on whether a specific individual who has contact with the child or vulnerable adult is on the Register.

This could include information requests regarding any person who has regular unsupervised contact with a child.

The person requesting a search will be required to provide their full details, the child’s or vulnerable person’s details, the identity of the person of interest and the level of contact that person has with the child or vulnerable adult.

The third category is for Missing Offenders. Photographs and personal details of serious adult sex offenders’ who have failed to comply with their reporting obligations, provided false or misleading information or whose location is currently unknown will be published and available to any member of the public.

This element is an extension of what is currently in operation today.

Penalties for misuse of information by applicants will include up to 10 years imprisonment.

A Guy Government would work with other state jurisdictions to build a framework of sharing information nationally.

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