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  • Writer's pictureShaun Pascoe

Suspending Reporting Obligations: Navigating the Sex Offenders Register Act 2004 (Vic)

Updated: Feb 13

In this article, we explain what's required in making an application to suspend reporting requirements imposed under the Sex Offenders Registers Act 2004 (Vic), and discuss a recent successful case study.


Table of Contents


 

The Legislation


A finding of guilty, for a certain sexual offence, will result in mandatory registration of the relevant offender on the Sex Offenders Register pursuant to the Sex reporting under the Sexual Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic).


In a recent article, we provided a brief overview of the SORA and explained some of the key concepts such as reporting periods, and the offences which trigger registration under the Act.


There are circumstances whereby an offender who is subject to a registration order under the Act can apply for a suspension of their reporting obligations and in this article, we provide a summary of the relevant provisions.


An Application to Suspend Reporting Obligations


Division 6 of the Act is entitled 'Suspension from Reporting Obligations'. Under Division 6, section 45A provides that the "Chief Commissioner of Police may suspend reporting obligations for a period not exceeding 5 years.


Our office recently made an application on behalf of a client under section 45A. It was in respect of offences that occurred more than 15 years ago.


By way of background, at her sentencing hearing, she received a term of imprisonment, most of that term was wholly suspended due to the unusual features of the offending.


It is also worth noting that the sentencing judge was provided with comprehensive psychological reports that assessed the risk of future offending as being low. Other relevant factors that featured in the sentencing exercise were our client's genuine remorse and insight into her offending.


Our client instructed our office to make an application to have her reporting obligations suspended for 5 years, and our submissions addressed each and every factor under section 45A.


The Chief Commissioner of Police must be satisfied that the applicant is of no risk or low risk to the sexual safety of one or more persons or of the community


The factors that are relevant to sexual safety, and must be considered by the Chief Commissioner of Police under section 45A are:


(a) the seriousness of the registrable offender's registrable offences and corresponding registrable offences; and


(b) the period of time since those offences were committed; and


(c) the age of the registrable offender, the age of the victims of those offences and the difference in age between the registrable offender and the victims of those offences, as at the time those offences were committed; and


(d) the registrable offender's present age; and


(e) the registrable offender's total criminal record; and


(f) the extent to which the registrable offender has complied with their reporting obligations; and


(g) the registrable offender's physical or cognitive capacity to comply with their reporting obligations; and


(h) any other matter that the Chief Commissioner of Police considers appropriate.


In preparing the application on behalf of our client we had the benefit of having all the materials that were utilised during the sentencing hearing namely:


  • prosecution summary of facts;

  • indictment

  • psychological reports


With these materials and with additional instructions provided by our client each of the above factors (45A(a)-(h)) were addressed.


We emphasised the various ways in which our client demonstrated a sustained period of rehabilitation.


Additionally, our client had complied with her reporting obligations for over 17 years without a breach.


A failure to comply with reporting obligations is a criminal offence under section 46 of the Act.


Ultimately our written submissions persuaded the Sex Offenders Registry posed a low risk and consequently our client's application for a 5 years suspension of reporting obligations was granted.

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