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Prohibition orders

Information about when registered sex offenders can be placed on a prohibition order after serving their sentence.

Prohibition orders are designed to target sex offenders who do not fall within the detention and supervision provisions. These orders apply to registerable sex offenders (whether children or adults) and the main consideration is given to the sexual safety of the community.

This page includes the following information about prohibition orders:

What is a prohibition order?

A prohibition order is a preventative order that prohibits a registerable offender from engaging in certain conduct if the offender poses a risk to community safety. This can include:

  • certain types of behaviour
  • going to certain places
  • making contact with certain people, and
  • using alcohol or other drugs.

Courts may make interim or final prohibition orders.

Who is a registrable offender?

A registrable offender is a person who has been sentenced for a registrable offence. A registrable offence is any offence listed as a class one or class 2 offence under the Sex Offender Registration Act 2004 or any offence that results in a sex offender registration order being made.

See s. 6—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and Relevant offences

Applying for a prohibition order

The Chief Commissioner of Police applies for hearings in either the Magistrates' Court for adult offenders or the Children's Court if the person is under 18. The written application must include an affidavit setting out the grounds on which the order is sought.

A copy of the application must be served personally on the registrable offender as soon as practicable after making the application.

See s. 66D(2)—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and Sex Offenders Registration Regulations 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Interim prohibition orders

A court may make an interim prohibition order if satisfied on the balance of probabilities:

  • that the offender poses a risk to the sexual safety of a person, or of children, or the community generally, and
  • the order is necessary to reduce the risk of offending until a final order can be made about the application.

If the registrable offender is an adult, this order can be made:

  • without a copy of the application being served on the offender
  • whether or not the offender is present at the hearing
  • by consent (without a hearing and without the court being satisfied that the conditions have been met).

The court may only make an order without a hearing if satisfied that it is in the interests of justice to do so.

If the court decides to make an interim prohibition order, they must list the final hearing as soon as practicable.

The court must consider making an interim prohibition order if a hearing for a final order application is adjourned.

See ss. 66E, 66G, 66N—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

When the interim order ends

The interim order ends when:

  • the order is revoked by a court
  • the court makes a final prohibition order
  • the court refuses to make a final prohibition order, or
  • the police withdraw their application for a prohibition order

whichever of these events happens first.

See s. 66H—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Final prohibition orders

The court can make a final prohibition order if satisfied on the balance of probabilities that:

  • the offender has engaged in the behaviour alleged in the application
  • due to the nature and pattern of that behaviour, the offender poses a risk to the sexual safety of one or more persons, children or the community generally, and
  • making a prohibition order will reduce that risk.

The court does not have to identify a risk to the sexual safety of any particular person or class of people.

Under some circumstances, the court may make an order with the consent of the registrable offender if they are an adult.

See s. 66I—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

What the court will consider when making a final order

The court must consider the following factors when deciding whether to make a final prohibition order:

  • the registrable offender's findings of guilt or charges for sexual or other relevant offences, and for each of these offences consider:
    • the seriousness and nature of the offence
    • how long since the offence was committed
    • the ages of the offender and the victim when the offence was committed
    • if the victim was a child at the time of the offence—the age difference between the offender and the victim
  • the current age of the offender
  • if the behaviour alleged in the application is similar to behaviour that was preparatory to the previous relevant offences
  • the circumstances of the offender to the extent that they relate to the conduct that the order is seeking to prohibit (for example, their need for accommodation, employment and re-integration in the community)
  • whether making the order is proportionate to the risk of the offender committing more registrable offences
  • the impact that conditions may have on the offender's treatment and rehabilitation
  • the impact of the conditions of the order on the registrable offender's family
  • anything else the court believes is necessary.

See s. 66J—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Additional considerations for child offenders

If the registrable offender is a child, the Children's Court must consider the matters listed above and also the following when deciding whether to make a final prohibition order:

  • the child's educational, training and employment needs
  • whether the order would prevent the child accessing therapeutic services, and if so, the availability of alternative strategies to manage the child's behaviour
  • the need to minimise the stigma to the child resulting from making the final prohibition order
  • the desirability of allowing the child's living arrangements to continue without interruption or disturbance
  • the need to ensure the child is aware that they are responsible for their actions against the law (if relevant).

The court must also consider a list of factors if they are considering including a condition to exclude the child from the place where they generally live.

See ss. 66K, 66Q, 66R—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Assessment reports required

The court must also have regard to the assessment report and any community treatment report. Assessment reports must be ordered by the Children's Court and must be prepared by the Children's Court clinic or another person with the required expertise. These reports have to include information and assessments about the young offender, the offender's family and any other matter ordered by the court. This report has to include an opinion about the impact that a final order would have on the child's accommodation, educational, health cultural and social needs.

If this assessment report does raise concerns about the impact on the child of making a final prohibition order, the court may ask the Department of Health and Human services to get involved and provide a report about possible options for treating the child in the community.

See ss. 66K, 66L, 66M—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

How long a final order lasts

A final prohibition order remains in force for the period specified by the court. If the offender is an adult the maximum period of an order is 5 years. If the offender is a child an order can only be made for up to 2 years.

The orders may not extend beyond the registrable offender's reporting period.

See s. 66P—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Orders must be explained

If the court does make an interim or final prohibition order, it must notify the registrable offender in writing that:

  • an order has been made
  • says when the order was made
  • sets out the conditions of the order
  • states when the order starts and ends
  • explains that it is an offence to breach an order
  • sets out the maximum penalties for a breach.

If the offender was at court when the order was made, they must be given a copy of the order. If the offender was not at court, a copy of the order must be served on the offender.

See ss. 66, 66F, 66O—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and rr. 26, 27—Sex Offenders Registration Regulations 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Conditions in a prohibition order

The court can include any conditions in a prohibition order that appear to be necessary or desirable in the circumstances, including prohibiting the registrable offender from:

  • associating with, or contacting, a person or class of people (for example, all people aged under 18, or the victim's family members)
  • being put in, or within, a specified distance of a place (can be a particular place, or a class of place, for example: places that serve alcohol, or swimming pools or schools)
  • engaging in certain behaviour or community activities
  • doing certain kinds of employment
  • drinking alcohol
  • using, or unlawfully obtaining, a drug of dependence.

See s. 66Q, 66R—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Drug or alcohol testing

If the prohibition order includes a prohibition against using alcohol or drugs, the court can include a requirement that the person have drug and alcohol breath testing, urine analysis or other approved test.

See s, 66T—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

What may be included as an employment condition

The kinds of employment that could be restricted includes:

  • working under employment contract
  • self employment, including as a sub-contractor
  • volunteering
  • working for a religious organisation
  • working as part of an educational practical training

See s. 66Q(4)—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Conditions may be monitored

The court may include a monitoring condition in the offender's order if they want to monitor the offender's compliance with one or more of these conditions. If a monitoring condition is included in the order, it authorises a police officer to:

  • enter premises (using reasonable force) where the offender usually lives, at any time that the officer reasonably suspects the person will be at home and in the presence of the offender:
    • searching and examining the premises and any thing (including a vehicle) belonging to, or in the possession or control of the offender, and
    • seizing anything they have searched and examined
    • searching and examining the registrable offender at those premises.

The police officer can require the offender to be at home on specified days and times so that this monitoring can take place.

Police can direct the offender to assist them to access or copy data on a computer device (including a smart phone or data storage device) at the premises being searched.

The powers and limits to powers that police have relating to their entry, search and seizure powers are set out in the Act.

See s. 66U, 66V, 66W, 66X, 66Y—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Prohibition order offences

It is an offence to breach a prohibition order. The maximum penalty for doing so is 5 years imprisonment.

The maximum penalty for failing to comply with a police direction to provide information or assistance in relation to computers and other devices (if the offender has the necessary knowledge to do so) is 5 years imprisonment

See ss. 66ZP, 66X(4)—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Interstate prohibition orders

The Chief Commissioner of Police (CCP) may apply to either court for a corresponding order made interstate to be registered in Victoria.

See ss. 66ZQ – 66ZZB—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and r. 36—Sex Offenders Registration Regulations 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Extending, varying or revoking a prohibition order

The CCP or the offender may apply for the protection order to be revoked, varied or extended. Before making an application, the offender has to get permission from the CCP. These orders can also be made by consent.

The CCP may apply to the court for a final order to be extended. The court cannot extend such an order beyond the maxim periods, that is: 5 years for an adult and 2 years for a child.

Note: The Sex Offenders Registration Act does not give a person any right to appeal against making a prohibition order.

See ss. 66ZH – 66ZO—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window) and rr. 32, 33, 37—Sex Offenders Registration Regulations 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Publication of proceedings may be prohibited

The court may make an order that prohibits a person from publishing a broad range of information that relates to a protection order or a protection order proceeding if the publication is likely to lead to the identification of the registrable offender, their carer, a victim of the offence or other person protected by the protection order.

See s. 66ZZB—Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Legislation

Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)

  • s. 6—who is a registrable offender?
  • Part 4 Division 2A—Prohibition orders
  • s. 66B—sexual safety of the community is paramount consideration for court
  • s. 66C—explains when a registrable offender is properly notified
  • s. 66D(2)—how an application must be made
  • s. 66E—court may make an interim prohibition order
  • s. 66F—explanation of the interim prohibition order
  • s. 66G—hearing to be listed as soon as practicable if interim order is made
  • s. 66H—duration of interim prohibition orders
  • s. 66I(3)—court power to make a final prohibition order, when there is no need for a hearing
  • s. 66J—what the court will consider when making an order
  • s. 66K—additional considerations if the offender is a child
  • s. 66L—children's court must order an assessment report
  • s. 66M—if assessment report raises concerns about the impact of the final order
  • s. 66N—court to consider making an interim order if final order hearing is adjourned
  • s. 66O—explanation of a final order
  • s. 66Q—conditions to be included in a prohibition order
  • s. 66R—excluding a child from their home (special considerations)
  • s. 66T—offender may have to submit to testing for drugs and alcohol
  • s. 66U—monitoring condition may be included
  • s. 66V—powers of entry under monitoring condition
  • s. 66W—search powers after entry
  • s. 66X—police may require assistance to access computers, smart phones or data storage devices
  • s. 66Y—power to seize
  • s. 66ZZD—applications by the chief commissioner of police to be served personally
  • s. 66ZZB—prohibition on publication of prohibition order
  • s. 66ZO—court can make orders to extend, vary or revoke a prohibition order by consent
  • s. 66ZP—offence to contravene a prohibition order
  • Schedule 1—Class 1 offences
  • Schedule 2—Class 2 offences

See Sex Offenders Registration Act 2004 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Sex Offenders Registration Regulations (2014)

  • r. 25—making application for a prohibition order
  • r. 26—explanation of interim prohibition order
  • r. 27—explanation of a final prohibition order
  • r. 28—exclusion conditions where the registrable offender is a child
  • r. 32—application to vary or revoke prohibition order
  • r. 33—application to extend prohibition order
  • r. 36—corresponding registrable offender to be notified
  • r. 37—court may vary a registration order

See Sex Offenders Registration Regulations 2014 (Vic)(opens in a new window).

Updated