Household surveillance devices

Surveillance devices may be in use in your home for a range of valid reasons. These include internal and external CCTV cameras for safety and security of a household.

Surveillance devices include technologies or devices that are developed specifically for surveillance purposes and those that are capable of being used for surveillance. These include listening and audio, optical or visual, tracking or location, and biometric surveillance.

Things to consider

Installing cameras

Did you know that if you intend on installing surveillance cameras in your home, you should first check if Queensland laws permit you doing so?

It is an offence for you to video record people without their consent, in places where they would expect to be private, such as a bedroom or bathroom. Section 227A of the Criminal Code makes this a criminal offence.

If installing a surveillance camera, you should consider how it will be positioned. Cameras should not have an impact upon persons in neighbouring properties.

What are you required to do?

The use of surveillance devices by approved foster and kinship carers and provisionally approved carers should be:

  • Minimised to situations where there is a risk to personal health or safety, and/or household security.
  • In accordance with  Australian and Queensland legislative requirements.
  • Operated ethically and in consideration of the privacy and human rights of the child or children in your care.
  • Utilised to minimise the possibility of re-traumatising or negatively impacting on the emotional wellbeing, relationships and sense of identity of the child in your care.
  • Measured in accordance with the child’s abuse and trauma history, their culture, age, disability and developmental needs.
  • Communicated to all home occupants and visitors.
  • Explained  to the child or children in your care, where developmentally and age appropriate, including information about:
    • the type of surveillance in use
    • the specific locations of surveillance device/s
    • the purpose of the surveillance device/s
    • who has responsibility for the surveillance device/s, and
    • what happens to the footage captured.
  • For clarity, baby monitors correctly used in the care of infants are not considered a surveillance device needing to be identified. However, if a baby monitor is used as an audio device to monitor a child or young person it would then be considered a surveillance device needing to be identified as per the below directions.

Informing Child Safety

Child Safety must be made aware of the use of any surveillance device by carers which impacts on the rights of a child placed in care under the Child Protection Act 1999, Section 82. Child Safety must be informed of:

  • the identified risk
  • the type of surveillance device utilised
  • consideration of any other less restrictive and reasonably available options
  • where it will be positioned
  • why it is being used and when, for example, if the use of a surveillance device is being considered to monitor the behaviour of a child within the care arrangement, this will need to be discussed with the relevant Child Safety Service Centre who holds case management for that child
  • who is responsible for the surveillance device including the storage, retention, use and disclosure of recordings
  • what will happen to the footage, and
  • the views of the child or children in your care.

Where possible, Child Safety should be notified at the time of the household safety assessment.

Recordings must be kept securely and the information recorded by the surveillance device must only be used for the purpose for which it was intended, or as required by, or permitted, under the law.