News outlets and individuals have a responsibility to ensure that identifying information about children known to FACS is not published.
Section 105 of the Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998(the Act) provides that where a child is connected with the child protection system, information identifying or likely to identify the child cannot be published. This includes publishing information identifying the child as being in out-of-home care or the subject of a risk of harm report.
The penalties for breaching s 105 are significant. An individual can face fines of up to $22,000 or imprisonment for two years (or both) and a corporation can be fined up to $220,000 if guilty of an offence.
It’s 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 children’s privacy.
This interest extends to the siblings of children known to FACS, who may also be adversely affected by outlets or individuals publishing identifying information about their siblings.
Please note that the legislation applies to social media and online publications.
If you’re unsure about whether a child is known to FACS, please contact the Media Unit on 9716 2804.
DISCLAIMER: The above is not intended as legal advice. Please seek independent legal advice before publishing an article you think might breach the Act.