- The publication of sensitive information about children on social media in contravention of Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act 1998 breaches children’s privacy and places them at risk of stigmatisation and further victimisation.
- Last year, the Department of Family and Community Services successfully prosecuted a birth father for breach of s 105 of the Act. This was the first prosecution of its kind in NSW.
- While it is usually considered an option of last resort, it may occasionally be necessary to commence a prosecution under s 105 to safeguard the privacy and wellbeing of children in care.
Social media – be it social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, or video and audio sharing sites such as YouTube – can be a valuable tool that allows people to easily publish and discuss the issues that are important to them. However, parents and others are increasingly using social media to publish sensitive information about a child’s involvement in care proceedings. This breach of children’s privacy is an emerging and concerning issue. Children and young people in care should be protected from the further victimisation associated with having the reasons for their removal shared in the public domain. Last year, the Department of Family and Community Services (‘FACS’) took the unprecedented step of commencing a criminal prosecution against a birth father to safeguard the privacy of the children concerned.