Media outlets and individuals have a responsibility to ensure that identifying information about children and young people known to the Department for Child Protection (DCP) is not published.
Section 162 of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 provides that information identifying or tending to identify a child or young person, who is the subject of any court proceedings including a Family Group Conference, cannot be published.
The penalties for breaching section 162 are significant. An individual can face fines of up to $50,000 and a corporation can be fined up to $120,000 if guilty of an offence.
In many circumstances is also unlawful for a person to disclose the identity of a person who has reported a child protection concern to DCP (section 163) or to disclose any personal information obtained in the course of DCP duties (section 164).
It is important to note that the intent of the legislation is not to stop lines of enquiry or accountability, but rather, the legislation has been written to protect the privacy of children and young people.
This interest extends to the siblings of children known to DCP, who may also be adversely affected by media outlets or individuals publishing identifying information about their siblings.
Please note: The legislation applies to social media and online publications.
The above is not intended as legal advice. Please seek independent legal advice before publishing anything you think might breach the Act.
Further enquiries can be directed to the DCP media line on 0437 953 016.