What can I tell you? Sharing personal information in the schools sector

Carolyn Adams, Krista Lee-Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Those working in the schools sector have a duty of care to ensure the safety and well-being of teachers and students. Fulfilling this duty often requires the sharing of sensitive personal information about teachers and students across institutional and jurisdictional boundaries. One of the most pressing reasons to share such information is to help identify, prevent and respond to child sexual abuse. This article examines the complex legal policy frameworks that govern the sharing of personal information—including teacher registration systems and privacy legislation—in the eight Australian states and territories. The focus of the study was to identify legal policy approaches that were likely to promote appropriate and timely sharing of information and any approaches that were likely to impede such sharing. Based on this comparative study, the article suggests a number of general regulatory approaches to improve legal frameworks for sharing information in the schools sector. It also proposes a test for legislators and policy makers to consider in developing such legal frameworks that gives due recognition to the human rights that come into tension in this policy context: the right to privacy and the rights of the child.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-396
Number of pages22
JournalAdelaide Law Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • human rights - Australia
  • privacy
  • rights of the child
  • child sexual abuse
  • schools


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