Criminal & Disciplinary

Police investigations or criminal offences: what are a teacher’s reporting obligations in South Australia?

If you’re a registered teacher who is under police investigation, or if you have been charged with or convicted of a criminal offence, you may have an obligation to report.

In South Australia, section 24(2) of the Teachers Registration and Standards Act 2004, states that every teacher’s registration must have attached the following condition:

if the person is charged with or convicted of an offence of a kind specified in the condition (which may include offences under the law of South Australia or elsewhere), the person must, within 14 days, give written notice of the charge or conviction to the Board containing the details specified in the condition.

The Teachers Registration Board of South Australia defines a specified offence to include, any offence for which a term of imprisonment is a penalty (regardless of whether or not a penalty of imprisonment was imposed).[1] However, all offences involving illicit drugs, violence, sexual or indecent behaviour, dishonesty, or cruelty to animals, must also be reported.[2]

The definition of a specified offence can create ambiguity when deciding whether or not a particular criminal charge or conviction needs to be reported. If any of these scenarios apply to you, it is imperative that you seek legal advice in relation to any reporting under section 24(2) of the Teachers Registration and Standards Act 2004. In some cases, there may be unforeseen implications or consequences for either reporting, or not reporting. It is also an offence for a registered teacher to contravene the conditions of their registration, which includes failing to report if you are required to do so.

The requirement to report for registered teachers extends beyond the Teachers Registration Board. There are several other reporting requirements, including but not limited to, the Department of Human Services, and your employer directly.

It is a requirement that teachers hold a current Working With Children Check. If you’re arrested or charged for particular offences, you must advise the Department of Human Services (DHS) screening unit as soon as reasonably practical. It is an offence to fail or refuse to comply with your reporting obligations under the Child Safety (Prohibited Persons) Act 2016.[3] Again, it is incredibly important to obtain legal advice in relation to any reporting obligations to the Department of Human Services.

A common misconception is that because the employer, Teachers Board, or DHS are already aware of the matter, there is no requirement to report. South Australia Police and other agencies also have obligations to report in certain circumstances, therefore it is more common than not that the agency will already be aware of the matter. However, an agency or employer already being aware of a criminal allegation or charge,  does not remove the requirement to report. In these circumstances, failing to report could still put you at risk of being charged for breaching your obligations.

Often associated with the reporting of criminal allegations is suspension of employment (with or without pay), managerial directions, or bail conditions. All of which can be inconsistent, unfamiliar, or confusing.

TGB Lawyers are here for you

At TGB, our criminal lawyers fully appreciate the immense stress that being charged with a criminal offence can cause, particularly for a registered teacher, or any other professional. Seeking legal advice at an early stage can significantly alleviate this stress at the most difficult time. Our office is very experienced in these areas and can assist with all reporting requirements, as well as the criminal charges themselves. Knowing that you have done all that is required can bring significant peace of mind at such a difficult time.

Contact the author, Kevin Raison or any member of our team today on (08) 8212 1077 to discuss your matter and how we can work towards reaching the best outcome for you.




[2] Ibid.

[3] Section 40(3) Child Safety Prohibited Persons) Act 2016