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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.

Definitions

For the purposes of this procedure, 'eligible person' means those specified by s320 of the Corrective Services Act 2006 (CSA 2006).

Other terms used in this procedure and on approved forms include:

  1. Registered Party: a person who has successfully applied for registration on the QCS Victims Register.
  2. Victim: the actual victim of the offences the prisoner/offender committed or the person concerned for their safety.
  3. Nominee:  a person or agency nominated by an eligible person to receive information on their behalf.

1.         Process

The chief executive may release certain information about any adult offender, to the extent that the chief executive considers appropriate, to a person registered with the QCS Victims Register or their nominee. Refer Corrective Services Act 2006 s320-s325; Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 and Victims of Crime Assistance Act 2009 s16.

2.         Initial correspondence

Initial written correspondence to an eligible person should acknowledge receipt of the registration form, confirm the outcome of the application and if approved, provide the level of information the eligible person will receive.

Depending on the level of information to be provided, the initial letter could include information about:

  1. a prisoner's/offender's sentence, including court, sentence length and type;
  2. security classification;
  3. release and eligibility dates; and
  4. the prisoner's/offender's current location whether in custody or under supervision in the community.

If the offender has already applied for or been granted parole, this information should also be included in the initial letter.

This also applies for those offenders subject to or under consideration for an order under the Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003.

In both these cases, the appropriate submission form should also be included in the initial correspondence.

The initial correspondence will also detail the process for the eligible person to submit a request for no contact from the offender of concern.

3.         Changes to offender status

In accordance with s325 CSA 2006, the eligible person or nominee should be advised in writing of changes to the offender's status.

Unless otherwise determined, the level of information provided should be at the level set out in initial correspondence from the QCS Victims Register.

4.         Submissions to the parole board

In accordance with s188 CSA 2006, eligible persons are entitled to make a submission to a parole board prior to the parole board's consideration of an offenders application for parole.

When the QCS Victims Register is notified that a prisoner has applied for parole, correspondence must be forwarded to the eligible person or their nominee advising them of the application.

The letter should include the form - QCS Submission to a Parole Board - and attached information sheet.  Advice should be provided that the eligible person has 21 days from receipt of the letter to return their submission to the QCS Victims Register.

The QCS Victims Register will process the submission and forward it to the relevant parole board.

Only the registration number of the eligible person should be included on the QCS Submission to a Parole Board form.  No other identifying information should be included on the form.

The QCS Victims Register will formally acknowledge receipt of the QCS Submission to a Parole Board form.

Any submissions provided to the Parole Board should be stored separately from all other documentation on the prisoner's/offender's parole board file.

Eligible persons have no entitlement to make a submission where an offender is applying for Exceptional Circumstances parole (s188 CSA 2006) or where a prisoner is being considered for release following suspension.

5.         Unsolicited submissions to the parole board

Where the Victims Register or any parole board receives correspondence that is not on the standard QCS Submission to a Parole Board form and does not identify the person as an eligible person registered with the Victims Register, correspondence should be forwarded to that person informing them:

  1. that their correspondence has been received;
  2. that if the submission provided is used by a parole board to make a decision regarding an application for parole, the existence of the submission or the content of the submission may be subject to disclosure to a prisoner/offender under a process of judicial review or an application under the Right to Information Act 2009;
  3. of the process to become a registered party on the QCS Victims Register; and
  4. that after considering this information the person should notify the Victims Register within 7 working days as to whether they wish their submission to form part of the parole board's consideration, or to return or destroy their submission.

The QCS Victims Register will either forward the submission to the appropriate board or destroy or return the submission once they have been notified of the person's decision.

The QCS Victims Register will then formally advise the person in writing that the submission has either been forwarded to the appropriate parole board, returned or destroyed.

If no further correspondence is received by the QCS Victims Register advising of their intention, the submission will not be provided to the relevant Parole Board.

6.        Parole information

The QCS Victims Register, where determined appropriate, may notify eligible persons or nominees of parole board decisions that affect the release or continued detention of a prisoner/offender including:

  1. parole grants (including release date, reporting office, any conditions pertaining to the eligible person e.g. no contact or must not enter or remain in a particular geographical location or subject to the availability of accommodation);
  2. final not grants;
  3. amendments to parole conditions (that affect the eligible person);
  4. parole cancellations; and
  5. suspensions, indefinite suspensions and warrants.

7. Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 information

The QCS Victims Register is required to provide information to eligible persons whose prisoner/offender of concern is subject to a Dangerous Prisoners (Sexual Offenders) Act 2003 (DPSOA) order either in custody or under supervision in the community.

The QCS Victims Register is also required to formally notify an eligible person when an offender is the subject of an application for either an initial order under Division 3 or a contravention under Division 5 of the DPSOA.

The notification will include the -  Queensland Corrective Services Victims Register Making a submission to the Supreme Court - form.  The 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 QCS Victims Register must forward any submissions received from eligible persons to the High Risk Offender Management Unit (HROMU) with an appropriate affidavit.

The QCS Victims Register must also initially provide an affidavit to the Supreme Court through HROMU where the eligible person has not provided a submission for both Division 3 and Division 5 hearings.

NB: For the purposes of submissions to the Supreme Court, an eligible person is defined as being the actual victim of the prisoner/offender or the parent or guardian of a victim who is under 18 years or has a legal incapacity. s9AA DPSOA 2003

8.         Change of name by an prisoner/offender.

Where a prisoner/offender has requested a change of name, whether in   custody or under supervision in the community, the officer processing   the request should contact the QCS Victims Register to ascertain whether   there are any eligible persons on the QCS Victims Register for the   prisoner/offender. (Procedure -  Change of Name by an Offender)

The QCS Victims Register will formally notify the eligible person enclosing the - QCS Victims Register Notice of Change of Name Request - form and advise the eligible person or nominee that a response is required within 21 days of receipt of the form.

The QCS Victims Register will process any returned documentation and forward it to the corrective services officer who has requested the check.

If there is no response from the eligible person or nominee within the specified time, the officer who made the original request for information should be notified.

9.        Proximity searches

Where Probation and Parole staff are preparing a home assessment in relation to an prisoner/offender sentenced to a term of imprisonment and convicted of an offence involving violence or a sexual offence, they must complete and forward administrative form - Victims Register Enquiry to ascertain if there are any eligible persons registered with the QCS Victims Register.

These forms are automatically sent via email to the QCS Victims Register for action.

QCS Victims Register staff must perform a search of IOMS to ascertain if  there are any eligible persons registered against the prisoner/offender. If so,  a further search must be conducted to check whether there are any concerns about  the proximity of a proposed address for a prisoner/offender in relation to the  address of the eligible person or victim.

A return email must be sent to the requesting officer advising either that the QCS Victims Register has no information to assist or that there are concerns.

The requesting officer should contact the Victims Register for further information where concerns are raised.

Where concerns are raised, a case note should be input on IOMS by the QCS Victims Register staff member who actioned the query.

10.       Timeframes for release of information

10.1    Initial correspondence

The applicant will be notified by the QCS Victims Register of the outcome of the application to register within 10 working days of the application being decided.

Following the decision, correspondence must then be forwarded to the applicant detailing:

  1. receipt date and acknowledgement of the application;
  2. outcome of the application;
  3. the level of information to be provided;
  4. details pertaining to the prisoner/offender's location, sentence and release and eligibility dates; and
  5. advice regarding the process for requesting no contact from the  prisoner/offender of concern to the eligible person.

10.2    Status change updates

Where appropriate, status change updates should be provided to an eligible person or nominee within five working days of the change occurring.

Sentence calculation changes must only be forwarded to the eligible person once the sentence has been verified by an Assistant Manager, Sentence Management.

For parole board decisions, eligible persons or nominees should be informed only after correspondence has been prepared, verified, signed and forwarded to the prisoner/offender.  If there is an urgent need to notify an eligible person or nominee, the delegated officer should liaise with a senior delegated officer responsible for the management of the QCS Victims Register in the first instance.

10.3    Applications for parole

The QCS Victims Register must notify an eligible person or nominee of an application for parole by a prisoner within seven days of notification through the Integrated Offender Management System (IOMS) of the prisoner submitting an application.

10.4    DPSOA submissions

Notifications in relation to submissions to the Supreme Court for DPSOA offenders must be sent to the eligible person or nominee:

  1. 14 days from the date of notification of a Division 5 contravention hearing date; and
  2. 21 days from the date of notification of a Division 3 hearing date for an initial order.

10.5   Interstate Transfers

For interstate transfers from Queensland, the eligible person will be advised of the outcome of the application within 10 working days of the prisoner/offender transferring.

10.6    Proximity Searches

Proximity search   notifications received by the Victims Register must be responded to   within 3 working days.

11.       Email correspondence

Where possible, information should be provided to eligible persons or nominees via email.

12.       Requests for further information

Requests for confidential information made to the QCS Victims Register outside that normally provided to eligible persons or nominees should be considered under CSA s341 (refer procedure - Disclosure of Confidential Information).

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 staff member should brief the senior officer responsible for the management of the QCS Victims Register or another senior officer immediately.

In making a determination to release any further information, consideration should be given 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.

A senior delegated officer should determine if further information should be released.

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

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 disclosed to any other parties.

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

14. Interstate Transfers

The process for the management of applications where prisoners/offenders have been granted an interstate transfer to or from Queensland is as follows:

Upon notification of an offender's inter-jurisdictional transfer, the delegated officer will:-

  1. notify the eligible person or nominee in writing that the offender's transfer has been approved;
  2. advise the eligible person or nominee of their potential eligibility to register in the receiving state/territory;
  3. provide the receiving state/territory's application form/s and contact details of the receiving state/territory; and
  4. hold the QCS Victims Register registration open until the prisoner/offender's full-time release date for the current episode to facilitate any return to the originating state.

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.

For applications transferring to Queensland, once an application for transfer has been approved, the process for registration as documented in Section 2 should be adhered to.

MARK RALLINGS
Acting Deputy Director-General

Last reviewed
29 August 2017
Last updated
29 August 2017

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