Media outlets and individuals have a responsibility to protect and maintain the privacy of children and young people.
Section 162 of the Children and Young People (Safety) Act 2017 provides that reports of court proceedings which identify or tend to identify a child or young person, who is alleged to be at risk or in need of protection must not be published. Publication of a report of a family group conference or any statement made or thing done at a family group conference is also prohibited.
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 it 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 assists in ensuring the rights of children and young people to confidentiality and privacy.
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.