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CHILDREN AND YOUNG PERSONS (CARE AND PROTECTION) ACT 1998 - SECT 29

Protection of persons who make reports or provide certain information

29 Protection of persons who make reports or provide certain information

(1) If, in relation to a child or young person or a class of children or young persons, a person makes a report in good faith to the Secretary or to a person who has the power or responsibility to protect the child or young person or the class of children or young persons:
(a) the making of the report does not constitute a breach of professional etiquette or ethics or a departure from accepted standards of professional conduct, and
(b) no liability for defamation is incurred because of the report, and
(c) the making of the report does not constitute a ground for civil proceedings for malicious prosecution or for conspiracy, and
(d) the report, or evidence of its contents, is not admissible in any proceedings other than the following proceedings (and appeals arising from the following proceedings):
(i) care proceedings in the Children's Court,
(ii) proceedings in relation to a child or young person under the Family Law Act 1975 of the Commonwealth,
(iii) proceedings in relation to a child or young person before the Supreme Court or the Civil and Administrative Tribunal,
(iv) proceedings before the Civil and Administrative Tribunal that are allocated to the Guardianship Division of the Tribunal or are commenced under the Victims Rights and Support Act 2013 ,
(v) proceedings under the Coroners Act 2009 , and
(e) a person cannot be compelled in any proceedings to produce the report or a copy of or extract from it or to disclose or give evidence of any of its contents, and
(f) the identity of the person who made the report, or information from which the identity of that person could be deduced, must not be disclosed by any person or body, except with:
(i) the consent of the person who made the report, or
(ii) the leave of a court or other body before which proceedings relating to the report are conducted,
and, unless that consent or leave is granted, a party or witness in any such proceedings must not be asked, and, if asked, cannot be required to answer, any question that cannot be answered without disclosing the identity or leading to the identification of that person.
(1A) A certificate purporting to be signed by the Secretary that a document relating to a child or young person or a class of children or young persons is a report to which this section applies is admissible in any proceedings and, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, is proof that the document is such a report.
(2) A court or other body cannot grant leave under subsection (1) (f) (ii) unless the court or other body is satisfied that the evidence is of critical importance in the proceedings and that failure to admit it would prejudice the proper administration of justice.
(3) A court or other body that grants leave under subsection (1) (f) (ii):
(a) must state the reasons why leave is granted, and
(b) must ensure that the holder of the report is informed that evidence as to the identity of the person who made the report, or from which the identity of that person could be deduced, has been disclosed.
(3A) The protections given by this section to a person who makes a report apply to:
(a) any person who provided information on the basis of which the report was made, in good faith, to the person, and
(b) any person who otherwise was in good faith concerned in making such a report or causing such a report to be made,
in the same way as they apply in respect of the person who actually made the report.
(4) Subsection (1) (f) does not prevent the disclosure of information from which the identity of a person may be deduced if the prohibition on the disclosure of that information would prevent the proper investigation of the report.
(4A) Subsection (1) (f) also does not prevent the disclosure to a law enforcement agency of the identity of the person who made the report (
"the reporter" ), or information from which the identity of the reporter could be deduced, if:
(a) the identity of the reporter, or the information, is disclosed in connection with the investigation of a serious offence or reportable conduct alleged to have been committed or done against a child or young person, and
(b) the disclosure is necessary for the purposes of safeguarding or promoting the safety, welfare and well-being of any child or young person (whether or not the victim of the alleged offence).
(4B) However, subsection (4A) does not apply unless:
(a) a senior officer of the law enforcement agency to which the disclosure is made has, before the disclosure is made, certified in writing that obtaining the reporter's consent would prejudice the investigation of the serious offence or reportable conduct concerned, or
(b) the person or body that makes the disclosure has, before making the disclosure, certified in writing that it is impractical to obtain the consent of the reporter.
(4C) The person or body that discloses to a law enforcement agency the identity of the reporter, or the information from which the identity of the reporter could be deduced, is required to notify the reporter of the disclosure unless:
(a) it is not reasonably practicable in the circumstances to do so, or
(b) the law enforcement agency to which the disclosure is made has advised the person or body that notifying the reporter would prejudice the investigation of the serious offence or reportable conduct concerned.
(6) In this section:

"court" includes a court exercising federal jurisdiction.

"law enforcement agency" means any of the following:
(a) the NSW Police Force,
(b) the Australian Federal Police,
(c) the police force of another State or Territory,
(d) a person or body prescribed by the regulations for the purposes of this definition.

"report" includes a report under sections 24, 25, 27, 120, 121 and 122.

"reportable conduct" means:
(a) reportable conduct within the meaning of Part 3A of the Ombudsman Act 1974 or conduct referred to in clause 2 of Schedule 1 to the Child Protection (Working with Children) Act 2012 , or
(b) conduct occurring elsewhere than in New South Wales that, if occurring in New South Wales, would be reportable conduct under paragraph (a).

"senior officer" means:
(a) in relation to the NSW Police Force--a commissioned police officer within the meaning of the Police Act 1990 , or
(b) in relation to any other law enforcement agency--a person (or class of persons) prescribed by the regulations as a senior officer of the agency.

"serious offence" means:
(a) a serious indictable offence within the meaning of the Crimes Act 1900 , or
(b) an offence committed elsewhere than in New South Wales that, if committed in New South Wales, would be an offence under paragraph (a).
Note : It is an offence under section 254 for a person to disclose any information obtained in connection with the administration or execution of this Act, except in certain circumstances. The maximum penalty is 10 penalty units (currently $1,100) or imprisonment for up to 12 months, or both.



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