Working in family law, particularly domestic violence can sometimes involve working with aggressive and threatening clients or opposing parties. Clients who did not receive the result they hoped for or the opposing party who has taken a dislike to you because you are acting against them, may exert threatening behavior toward you and/or your family to the extent that you are concerned for your/your family’s safety. It is important for lawyers, law clerks, and other professionals working in the family law and domestic violence field to understand their rights related to suppressing their personal information from the public and the process of doing so.
If you have concerns for your safety and/or your family’s safety, the following steps can be taken to ensure your personal details are concealed from the public:
- Contact your telephone service provider to ensure your phone number and address is changed to “unlisted”. This will prevent your phone number/s and address from featuring in the phone book and databases online.
- Register as a silent elector to remove your address from the publicly available electoral roll. You can apply via the Australian Electoral Commission website (https://www.aec.gov.au/).
- If you have an interest in any company, your residential address is included on company documents and you are a silent elector, attend upon the Australian Securities & Investments Commission’s website (https://asic.gov.au/) and complete the following:
a. Form 379 – request to suppress residential address.
b. Submit your letter from the AEC that confirms your silent elector status.
c. If you are on the FLPA board, a Form 484 (to be completed online).
These are short forms and simple to complete. The forms must be submitted by post to ASIC at the postal address provided on the forms or lodged online.
4. Attend upon the Department of Natural Resources, Mines and Energy website (https://www.dnrme.qld.gov.au/) and complete a Form 63 (version 3.0) – application for suppression direction.
This form can be lodged at your closest DNRME center either in person, by post or by email (Brisbane DNRME email address [email protected]). You must submit a supporting statutory declaration stating the reasons for the application. If successful, the effect of a suppression direction is as follows:
a. The direction will preclude public inspection of your name and postal address, for up to 5 years, from the following records:
- Valuation roll held for all properties in Queensland.
- Sales file held of all properties which have been reported to the Department.
- Displays rolls are used to advise details of the annual valuation.
- Any other report based on the information held in the valuation roll or sales file.
b. The department must provide a copy of the direction to the local Council who must ensure your name or postal address is not included within documents open for public inspection.
c. The department will provide a copy of the direction to Core Logic (formerly RP Data) and request they update their system to ensure your name and postal address do not appear in an RP data search.
I am aware of a recent instance of this application being submitted by email and a response received within 3 business days.
5. Attend upon the Department of Transport and Main Roads website (https://www.qld.gov.au/) and complete the Form F4109 – Customer Record Suppression Application.
The form can only be submitted either in person at your closest TMR Customer Service Centre or by post. The Identify Management Unit can be contacted by email [email protected].
The effect of a successful application is that your Main Roads customer record, including your name and postal address, will be suppressed from the public. You must submit with this application one of the following documents:
- A report from the Queensland Police Service.
- A report from the Crime and Corruption Committee.
- A report from a relevant law enforcement authority.
- A court order, for example, a domestic violence order.
These steps may not be obvious but are certain steps that each one of us working in family law or domestic violence should be familiar with and have at our disposal in the unfortunate event we are concerned for our personal safety or our family’s personal safety.