Clarity Law

Specialist Criminal Law Firm Queensland
Monday, 20 May 2024 13:58

What is the sex offender register in Queensland

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What is the sex offender register in Queensland

Many people may have heard the term ‘registered sex offender’. But what does this mean in Queensland?

The Child Protection (Offender Reporting and Offender Prohibition Order) Act 2004 provides a statutory framework for the supervision of ‘reportable offenders’  in the community. The Act states that any risk to the lives or sexual safety of any children is unacceptable.

The purposes of the Act are therefore to provide for the protection of the lives of children and their sexual safety, and to require offenders who commit sexual, or other serious offences against children, to keep police informed of the offender’s whereabouts and other personal details after the offender’s release into the community.

The law was recently changed in this area (2023) to make reporting requirements more stringent as well as increase the length a reportable offender must report for.

The sex offender register is legally called the “child protection register”. The register is administered and enforced by the Queensland Police Service.


How does a person get on the sex offender registry?

According to the Child Protection (Offender Reporting and Offender Prohibition Order) Act 2004, to get on the register, a person must be a ‘reportable offender.’

A reportable offender is a person who is:

  1. Sentenced for a “prescribed offence”,

  2. Sentenced for an offence other than a prescribed offence and the court nevertheless makes a reportable offender order against the person,

  3. An existing reportable offender.

A reportable offence is:

  1. An offence against certain provisions of the Classification of Computer Games and Images Act 1995,

  2. An offence against certain provisions of the Classification of Films Act 1991,

  3. An offence against certain provisions of the Classification of Publications Act 1991.

The above offences are all related to selling, producing, exhibiting, or possessing material which contains depictions of children in an abusive or exploitative manner.


Further reportable offences under Queensland Criminal Code are:

  • Indecent treatment of children under 16.

  • Owner etc. permitting abuse of children on premises.

  • Engaging in penile intercourse with child under 16.

  • Using internet etc. to procure children under 16.

  • Grooming child under 16 years or parent or carer of child under 16 years.

  • Taking child for immoral purposes.

  • Involving child in making child exploitation material.

  • Making child exploitation material.

  • Distributing child exploitation material.

  • Possessing child exploitation material.

  • Administering child exploitation material website.

  • Encouraging use of child exploitation material website.

  • Distributing information about avoiding detection.

  • Producing or supplying child abuse object.

  • Possessing child abuse object.

  • Repeated sexual conduct with a child.

  • Attempt to commit rape.

  • Assault with intent to commit rape.

  • Sexual assaults.

There is also a long list of offences under Commonwealth law which are, in some way, connected with child abuse offences.

In short, offences which are classified as reportable offences are related to sexual abuse of children, or possession/production of material that depicts sexual abuse of children. 


How does the register work?

Once a person is classified as a reportable offender, they are required to disclose the following information to the government:

  1. Their name,

  2. Date and place of birth,

  3. Details of an tattoos or permanent distinguishing marks,

  4. Any premises where the reportable offender generally resides.

If the person has had contact with a child, details known to the reportable offender about the child and the nature of the interaction.


If employed:

  1. The nature of the employment,

  2. If the offender is employed by an employer—the name of the employer,

  3. The address or locality of each of the offender’s usual places of employment.

Details of any club or organisation of which the reportable offender is an associate, employee, member, official or subordinate that has child members or organises, supports or undertakes activities in which children participate.

The make, model, colour and registration number of any vehicle the reportable offender owns and has driven on at least 7 days within a 1-year period, whether or not the days are consecutive.


Details of any:

  1. Mobile phones,

  2. Electronic devices (such as iPads),

  3. Email addresses,

  4. Computers,

  5. Social media platforms.

Details include such things usernames and passwords, telephone numbers, email addresses and models of electronic devices,

The passport number and country of issue of each passport held by the reportable offender.


How long must a person be on the register for?

Prior to April 2023

  • A person who commits reportable offence must report for five years.

  • The offender must report for 10 years if the offender was already subject to reporting obligations and commits one further reportable offence.

After April 2023

  • 10 years for one or more offences dealt with at the same time.

  • The offender must report for 20 years if the offender was already subject to reporting obligations and commits one further reportable offence.

  • The offender must report for life if the offender was already subject to reporting obligations and commits multiple subsequent reportable offences.


Offences under the Act

The main offence is “failure to comply with reporting obligations” which can be penalised by a fine of up to a maximum of $47,000 or imprisonment for a maximum of five years.

It is a defence to prove the person had a reasonable excuse for failing to comply.



As can be seen, the register imposes onerous obligations to those who are required to report. It is important for any person who may be subject to the reporting legislation to understand their obligations. It is also important for any person charged with a ‘prescribed offence’ to get expert legal advice as to how he or she may be affected.



For purposes of brevity, not every single instance of when a person can be placed on the register has been identified, nor has every offence or every condition of reporting obligations been identified. Please consider this article to be an outline of the legislation only. It is not legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for legal advice specific to your circumstances.


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Jacob Pruden

Jacob is a former barrister and now criminal defence lawyer with over 8 years experience appearing in courts throughout South East Queensland representing clients charged with criminal offences.