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Victims register - release of information

Purpose

To provide for the release of information to persons registered with the Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) Victims Register or their nominees.

1. Definitions

‘victims register’ - also known as eligible persons register. The register is established under section 320(1) of the Corrective Services Act 2006 (CSA 2006).

'eligible person' - means those specified by s320 of the CSA 2006. The QCS Victims Register will manage the register of eligible persons referred to in s320 of the CSA 2006.

‘registered party’ - a person who has applied and been approved to be registered on the QCS Victims Register.

‘victim’ - the actual victim of the offences the prisoner committed or a person concerned for their safety.

‘nominee’ - a person or agency nominated by a registered party to receive information from the QCS Victims Register on their behalf.

‘delegated officer’ - the senior advisor of the QCS Victims Register.

‘senior delegated officer’ – the Director or Executive Director responsible for the management of the QCS Victims Register.

2. Process

In accordance with s324A of the CSA 2006 the Chief Executive must give an eligible person information about a prisoner under QCS supervision to whom the eligible person is registered.

In accordance with s325 of the CSA 2006 the Chief Executive may release certain information about a prisoner under QCS supervision to the eligible person to whom the eligible person is registered.

Corrective Services Act 2006 s320-s325; Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 and Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009 Schedule 1AA.

3. Correspondence

All correspondence from the Victims Register to a registered person, or their nominee, is to be attached to the relevant IOMS profile.

A copy of approved Applications to Register with the QCS Victims Register (Form 49) and supporting documents, excluding copies of personal identification, will be attached to the relevant registered party’s IOMS profile.

Record keeping is administered in accordance with DJAG Record keeping Policy.

Refer section 5 Approval - QCS Victims Register – Placement and Removal Procedure

Completed Submission to the Parole Board Queensland, Submission to Supreme Court and Notice of Name Change Request forms received from an eligible person will not be attached to IOMS or retained on hard copy files.

All correspondence generated by the Victims Register must go through the approved checking process. Administrative Form - Victims Register - Correspondence and Privacy Checklist form

3.1 Initial correspondence

The QCS Victims Register will notify the applicant as soon as practicable following the decision to approve the application to register.

Initial written correspondence to an eligible person should confirm the approval of the application and provide particulars of the prisoner’s sentence details and management.

The initial letter will include information as required in accordance with s324A and s325 of the CSA 2006.

If the prisoner has already applied for parole, or is under consideration for an order under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003, this information will also be included in the initial letter.

In both these cases, the appropriate form for making a submission will also be included with the initial correspondence.

If the prisoner is located in a correctional centre, the initial correspondence will also detail the process for the eligible person to submit a request for no contact from the prisoner.

4. Changes to prisoner status

Following the QCS Victims Register being notified of any changes of status, excluding Parole Board Queensland decisions, the information will be provided, in writing, to the eligible person in accordance with ss 324A and 325 of the CSA 2006.

For Parole Board Queensland decisions, refer to section 4.2 of the QCS Victims Register - Release of Information.

On the prisoner’s return to custody and if not previously advised; information will be included in the correspondence to the eligible person detailing the process to request no contact from the prisoner.

4.1 Sentence calculation changes

The eligible person or nominee will only be notified of any sentence calculation changes once the sentence has been verified by an authorised officer.

If the change in sentence calculation results in immediate release, every effort will be made to contact an eligible person or nominee by telephone in the first instance.

4.2 Parole Board Queensland decisions

Parole Board decisions will be provided to eligible persons or nominees in accordance with ss324A and 325 of the CSA 2006. The correctional centre and prisoner should be in receipt of the Parole Board decision prior to contact with the eligible persons or nominee. Every effort will be made by the QCS Victims Register to contact the eligible persons or nominee by telephone in the first instance regarding parole releases.

5. Notification of unplanned incidents

The QCS Victims Register will be responsible for the release of information to eligible persons during business hours.

The QCS officer responsible for the management of an incident will be responsible for the release of information relevant to ss324A(1)(c) and 324A(1)(d) of the CSA 2006 to an eligible person outside of business hoursin accordance with s341(e)(ii) of the CSA 2006.

In accordance with ss324A(1)(c) and 324A(1)(d) of the CSA 2006, the chief executive must give an eligible person information concerning the death, escape and any other information relating to the prisoner that could reasonably be expected to endanger the eligible person’s life or physical safety.

A staff member from the QCS Victims Register or the QCS officer responsible for the management of the incident will assess and determine if the information relating to the prisoner could reasonably be expected to endanger the eligible person’s life or physical safety.

In accordance with s324A(2)(c) of the CSA 2006 the information must be given to the eligible person immediately after the chief executive becomes aware of the information.

All prisoners with an eligible person registered against them will have a Victims Register flag on IOMS.

The QCS officer responsible for the oversight and/or management of the incident will identify if the prisoner has an IOMS Victims Register flag.

If the prisoner has an IOMS Victims Register flag, the QCS officer will access the eligible person’s contact details in the IOMS Victims Register section.

The QCS officer will contact the eligible person and advise of the incident and detail the contact and response in the IOMS Victims Register case notes.

When contacting the eligible person the QCS officer will:

  • Provide their name and position and advise the contact is occurring on behalf of the QCS Victims Register;
  • The nature of the incident involving the prisoner of concern;
  • If necessary, encourage the eligible person to contact QPS if they have any immediate or future safety concerns.

If contact cannot be established, where practicable a voice mail message will be left requesting the eligible person contact the QCS officer at the earliest opportunity or the QCS Victims Register on the next business day.

If the prisoner is arrested outside of business hours, the officer responsible for the management of the incident will again contact the eligible person and provide an update on the prisoner’s status. The contact is to be recorded in an IOMS Victims Register case note and detailed in an email to victims.register@dcs.qld.gov.au

An officer from the QCS Victims Register will contact the eligible person if the arrest occurs in business hours.

The Executive Director, Specialist Operations and Director Operations, Specialist Operations is to be advised if the eligible person raises any issues that may result in media attention.

It is the responsibility of each operational unit to contact the QCS Victims Register and request Victims Register IOMS access for QCS staff who manage and or have oversight of incidents.

It is the responsibility of the QCS Victims Register to provide an overview of the Victims Register IOMS section to all QCS staff who have been approved access.

Refer section 4 of the QCS Victims Register – Release of Information

Refer section 7 of the QCS Victims Register - Placement and Removal Procedure

Ss 324A and 341 of the CSA 2006

6. Submissions to the Parole Board Queensland

In accordance with s188 of the CSA 2006, eligible persons are entitled to make a submission to the Parole Board Queensland prior to the Parole Board Queensland's consideration of a prisoner’s application for parole, other than exceptional circumstances parole.

Notification will be forwarded to an eligible person or nominee within seven (7) calendar days after the QCS Victims Register has received notice of an application for parole, as defined in s188(2) of the CSA 2006.

The letter will include the following documents: Queensland Corrective Services Victims Register Making a submission to the Parole Board Queensland and QCS Submission to the Parole Board Queensland.

The eligible person or nominee will be advised they have up to 21 days from receipt of the letter to return their submission to the QCS Victims Register.

The letter to the eligible person will also include that they can apply to the Parole Board Queensland for an extension of the 21 day timeframe.

The request for an extension of time is to be directed to the QCS Victims Register. The letter from the eligible person need only include the QCS Victims Register reference number.

The QCS Victims Register will forward any request for an extension of time to the Parole Board Queensland for determination.

The QCS Victims Register is responsible for relaying the decision of the Parole Board Queensland to the eligible person.

The eligible person can include additional written documentation with their submission to the Parole Board Queensland.

In instances where an Application to Register with the QCS Victims Register has been received and processed during the parole application process the QCS Victims Register will advise the eligible person of the timeliness for receipt of a submission to the Parole Board Queensland.

The QCS Victims Register will process and forward the relevant section of the Submission to the Parole Board Queensland.

The eligible person will be provided advice confirming the submission has been provided to the Parole Board Queensland.

Eligible persons have no entitlement to make a submission where a prisoner is applying for exceptional circumstances parole s188 of the CSA 2006or where a prisoner is being considered for release following suspension.

7. Unsolicited correspondence from persons not registered with the QCS Victims Register

Upon receipt of a submission from a ‘victim’ which has not been provided on the approved form, the Parole Board Queensland, where practicable, is to seek clarification from the QCS Victims Register to determine if the person is a registered party.

Where practicable the delegated officer at the QCS Victims Register will contact the person and advise of the application process for registration.

8. Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 information

Following notification of a final hearing date the QCS Victims Register is required to formally notify an eligible person when a prisoner is the subject of an application for either an initial order under Division 3 or a contravention under Division 5 of the DPSOA 2003 and advise them of their right to make a submission to the Supreme Court, pursuant toss9AA and 21A DPSOA 2003.

The QCS Victims Register will ensure, where possible, that the eligible person has the opportunity to make a submission to the Supreme Court before the hearing date. The correspondence forwarded to a registered person is to include the date a submission is to be received by the QCS Victims Register.

The notification to the eligible person will also include the following documents: Queensland Corrective Services Victims Register Making a submission to the Supreme Court about an order under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 and Submission to Supreme Court.

The QCS Victims Register must forward an affidavit and any submissions received from eligible persons to the relevant Government department managing the court matter.

The QCS Victims Register must also provide an affidavit to the Supreme Court through the relevant Government department managing the court matter where the eligible person has not provided a submission for both Division 3 and Division 5 hearings in accordance with s9AA and s21a of the DPSOA 2003.

Where practicable, affidavits and any submissions are to be forwarded to the relevant Government department no later than five (5) working days prior to the final hearing date.

For the purposes of submissions to the Supreme Court, an eligible person is defined as being the actual victim of the prisoner or the parent or guardian of a victim who is under 18 years or has a legal incapacity in accordance with s9AA and s21A of the DPSOA 2003.

The QCS Victims Register will advise the eligible person when the prisoner of concern is subject to an order either in custody or in the community under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 (DPSOA 2003), pursuant to s320 CSA 2006.

9. Change of name by a prisoner

Where a prisoner has requested a change of name, whether in custody or under supervision in the community, the officer processing the request should, via review of the Integrated Offender Management System (IOMS) determine if the prisoner has any registered parties with the QCS Victims Register.

On formal advice from the processing officer, the QCS Victims Register will formally notify the eligible person enclosing the following:
Queensland Corrective Services Victims Register Notice of Name Change Request, pursuant to s27 of the CSA 2006.

The QCS Victims Register will process any returned documentation and forward it to the processing officer who initiated the request.

If there is no response from the eligible person or nominee within 21 calendar days from the date of the letter, the officer who initiated the request will be advised of same.

The QCS Victims Register is to request immediate notification from the processing officer once the outcome of the change of name request is known.

The processing officer is to inform the QCS Victims Register of the outcome of the prisoner’s request to change his/her name.

Within five (5) business days of receiving notification, the QCS Victims Register will inform the eligible person or nominee of the outcome.

10. Proximity searches

Corrective Services Officers are to request via Victims Register Enquiry that a proximity search be conducted for prisoners in the following circumstances.

  • an offender makes a request to travel interstate (with or without a VR flag)
  • a prisoner/offender applies to transfer their parole order interstate (with or without a VR flag)
  • an offender applies to change their address when supervised in the community;
  • a prisoner is considered for transfer to a work camp in the community; and
  • a prisoner is required to have an Accommodation Risk Assessment completed for consideration by the Parole Board Queensland prior to any release.

On request the QCS Victims Register will conduct a search of the proximity of a proposed address/location to the last known address of the eligible person or victim. A return email will be sent to the requesting officer advising of the outcome of the search.

In the event that QCS Victims Register does not have the contact details or location of the eligible person the requesting officer will be advised accordingly.

The requesting officer will be advised if the proposed address/location is within 10km of the eligible person’s location.

The requesting officer is responsible for contacting the QCS Victims Register for further information where concerns are raised.

All responses regarding proximity searches will be documented in a case note on IOMS by a QCS Victims Register staff member. A copy of the search response email and map search will be attached to the relevant Registered Party IOMS profile and hard copy file.

Proximity search notifications for Queensland addresses received by the QCS Victims Register must be responded to within three (3) working days.

For enquiries relating to interstate travel and/or transfer, the QCS Victims Register will contact the relevant interstate victims register authority.

The QCS Victims Register will notify the requesting officer of the response from the interstate victims register authority.

11. Interstate Transfers

The QCS Victims Register will notify an eligible person or their nominee as soon as practicable following the notification of the prisoner’s transfer out of Queensland.

The delegated officer will:

  1. advise the eligible person or nominee of their potential eligibility to register in the receiving state/territory;
  2. provide the receiving state/territory's contact; and
  3. advise the eligible person or nominee that their registration with the QCS Victim

Register has been completed due to the prisoner’s transfer interstate.

Refer section 7 of the QCS Victims Register - Placement and Removal Procedure

It is the responsibility of the eligible person to submit an application including the appropriate identification to the receiving state/territory.

The final determination to enable an eligible person to register in the receiving state/territory rests with the receiving state/territory.

12. Requests for further information

Requests for confidential information made to the QCS Victims Register outside normally provided to eligible persons or nominees should be considered under s341 of the CSA 2006 Disclosure of Confidential Information and Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006.

Requests for further information will only be accepted in writing.

If the information has been requested because an eligible person or nominee believes that their life or physical safety is endangered, the QCS Victims Register officer should brief the senior delegated officer immediately.

The staff member should also complete an IOMS intelligence note detailing the information received.

In making a determination to release any further information, consideration should be given in accordance with s341(3)(e)(i) of the CSA 2006 as to whether the release of this information is necessary in assisting an eligible person or nominee to protect their safety or the safety of their immediate family.

The eligible person or nominee should be advised in writing of the outcome of the request.

Refer s341 of the CSA 2006 and Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006

13. Confidentiality

Information provided to eligible persons, nominees and registered agencies by the QCS Victims Register is subject to s341(3) CSA 2006 and must not be publically disseminated. This includes disclosure of confidential information to any media outlet (e.g. television, newspaper, radio, the internet, book or other form of communication), distributing the confidential information in leaflets or brochures in letterboxes or by announcing the confidential information at a meeting. An eligible person or their nominee may disclose relevant confidential information (such as the prisoner’s discharge date) to a third party, for example a Domestic and Family Violence Support Service, for the purposes of obtaining support and assistance.

The QCS Victims Register will ensure that all information held by the QCS Victims Register relating to eligible persons and nominees is stored securely.

Kerrith McDermott
Acting Commissioner

Last reviewed
10 October 2017
Last updated
10 October 2017

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