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 pursuant to s320 of the Corrective Services Act 2006 (CSA 2006). The register is kept in accordance with s320(1) of the CSA 2006.

‘eligible person’ – means those specified by s320(2) of the CSA 2006. The QCS Victims Register will manage the register of eligible persons referred to in s320(2) 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 on their behalf.

‘delegated officer’ – the Senior Advisor Victims Register and Advisor Victims Register.

‘senior delegated officer’ – the Director, General Manager and 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 release certain information about a prisoner under its supervision against 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 its supervision against whom the eligible person is registered.

Refer s320-s325 of the CSA 2006; 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 and placed on the hard copy file.

Applications to Register with the QCS Victims Register (Form 49), excluding supporting documents, will be attached to the relevant registered party’s VR IOMS profile.

For examples of supporting documentation refer section 3 of the QCS Victims Register – Placement and Removal of Applicants Procedure.

Record keeping is administered in accordance with DJAG Record keeping Policy

Refer section 5 of the QCS Victims Register – Placement and Removal of Applicants 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 Correspondence to a prisoner registered with the QCS Victims Register

The QCS Victims Register will advise the General Manager, Custodial Operations via email of the pending release of information to a prisoner registered with the QCS Victims Register.

The email will also be copied to the senior delegated officers responsible for the management of the QCS Victims Register.

The Victims Register will also telephone the General Manager/Deputy General Manager of the correctional facility where the prisoner is located and advise that correspondence from the QCS Victims Register will be sent to a prisoner in their correctional facility. The General Manager/Deputy General Manager
will be informed of the content of the letter.

The QCS Victims Register will send a letter to the General Manager/Deputy General Manager with the correspondence for the prisoner enclosed within a sealed envelope.

The letter to the General Manager/Deputy General Manager will detail:

  • That information from the QCS Victims Register is confidential;
  • The requirement to provide the letter to the prisoner;
  • The requirement to complete a case note in IOMS confirming the letter has been provided to the prisoner; and
  • That Correspondence from the QCS Victims Register is not to be placed on any prisoner’s Offender File.

3.2 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 written 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 s324A and s325 of the CSA 2006.

For Parole Board Queensland decisions, refer to section 4.3 of the QCS Victims Register – Release of Information Procedure.

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 written contact from the prisoner.

4.1 Prisoners with VR flags reverting to full remand

In cases where the prisoner has completed the sentence but remains in custody on remand the senior delegate will provide advice regarding the management of the registration and the information to be released.

Refer section 7.2 of the QCS Victims Register – Placement and Removal of Applicants Procedure.

4.2 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.

4.3 Parole Board Queensland decisions

Parole Board decisions will be provided to eligible persons or nominees in accordance with s324A and s325 of the CSA 2006. If in custody, the correctional centre and prisoner should be in receipt of
the Parole Board decision prior to contact with the eligible person or nominee.

Every effort will be made by the QCS Victims Register to contact the eligible person or nominee by telephone in the first instance regarding parole releases or other relevant matters at the request of the Parole Board Queensland.

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 VR will be notified of any unplanned incidents via IOMS notification, or by a QCS officer who has assessed it necessary for the QCS VR to contact the registered person.

The QCS officer responsible for the management of an incident will be responsible for the release of information relevant to s324A(1)(c) and (d) of the CSA 2006 to an eligible person outside of business hours.

In accordance with s324A(1)(c) and (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.

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 and advise the QCS Victims Register by email of the actions.

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;
  • Advise of 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.

The QCS officer will also send an email to victims.register@dcs.qld.gov.au detailing:

  • QCS officer initiating contact;
  • If contact was established;
  • If contact was not established was a voicemail message left requesting contact;
  • Nature of the incident;
  • Information provided to the eligible person;
  • Any issues raised by the eligible person; and
  • If a case note was completed.

If the prisoner is arrested outside of business hours, and advice has been provided to QCS, 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.

If the arrest occurs in business hours, and a QCS Victims Register staff member has been advised, the QCS Victims Register will contact the eligible person.

Senior delegated officers responsible for the management of the QCS Victims Register are 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 Procedure

Refer section 7.2 of the QCS Victims Register – Placement and Removal of Applicants Procedure

Refer s324A and s341 of the CSA 2006

Refer Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers – Corrective Services Act 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, in accordance with s188(2) of the CSA 2006.

The letter will include the following document: QCS Submission to the Parole Board Queensland form (which includes an Information Sheet).

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

The letter to the eligible person will also advise 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 also notify the Parole Board Queensland that a new registration is active against the prisoner that has applied for parole, and that the registered person has not yet had the opportunity to make 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 in accordance with s188 of the CSA 2006 or where a prisoner is being considered for re-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 (DPSOA 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, in accordance with s9AA and s21A 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 from a senior delegated officer 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 document: Submission to Supreme Court form (which includes an information sheet).

The QCS Victims Register must forward an affidavit, signed by a senior delegated officer, 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 DPSOA 2003.

Where practicable, affidavits and any submissions are to be forwarded to the relevant Government department no later than five (5) business 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 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 DPSOA 2003, in accordance with s320 of the CSA 2006.

9. Change of name by a prisoner

If a prisoner/offender with a VR flag has requested a change of name, the officer processing the request should notify the QCS Victims Register.

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

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

The QCS Victims Register will not retain a copy of the completed Queensland Corrective Services Victims Register Notice of Name Change Request form.

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.

As soon as practicable after receiving notification, the QCS Victims Register will inform the eligible person or nominee of the outcome.

All contact with the eligible person and relevant QCS staff is to be recorded in the eligible person’s Victims Register IOMS profile as a case note.

Refer s27 of the CSA 2006.

Refer s325(1)(g) of the CSA 2006.

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 supervised in the community applies to change their address (with a VR flag);
  • a prisoner is considered for transfer to a low custody facility, work camp in the community and/or community service leave (with a VR flag); and
  • a prisoner is required to have an Accommodation Risk Assessment completed for consideration by the Parole Board Queensland prior to any release (with a VR flag).

On request the QCS Victims Register will conduct a search of the proximity of a proposed address/location to the last registered address of the eligible person or victim.

In the event the registered party has a nominee, a QCS Victims Register staff member will contact the nominee to ascertain whether the registered party is willing to disclose their location for the purpose of the proximity search.

If the QCS Victims Register has no information or is unable to obtain information about the location of the registered person the requesting officer will be advised accordingly by return email.

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

If the address is between 10-20km of the registered person’s location, the delegated officer will review the factors involved and will determine the appropriate information to be provided to the requesting officer.

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 map search and email response 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) business 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 details; 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 7.1 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. However, if required, QCS Victims Register staff will assist wherever possible.

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 further confidential information, over and above that which is provided under s324A and 325 of the CSA 2006, received from an eligible person or nominee regarding the prisoner 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 is 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.

If the request relates to the endangerment or physical safety of the eligible person or nominee the QCS Victims Register officer 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.

Where practicable, the eligible person or nominee should be advised in writing of the outcome of the request.

Refer s341 of the CSA 2006

Refer Disclosure of Confidential Information

Refer 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) of the 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.

Peter Martin APM
Commissioner

Last updated: 2 August 2018
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