Contact Veto Register

Adoption Act 2000 (ss 154-164) & Adoption Regulation 2003 (cls 62-64)

The Contact Veto Register enables a birth parent or an adopted person to prevent another party to the adoption from making contact with them.

You may only lodge a Contact Veto if the Order of Adoption was made before 26 October 1990. A Contact Veto remains in force unless the applicant decides to remove it or is deceased.

A Contact Veto only prevents contact with the person who has lodged the veto. It does not prevent the release of identifying information about all the people involved in the adoption.

Some reasons why a Contact Veto may have been lodged

In the past, many adoptions were kept a secret and sometimes a birth mother or birth father’s parents and their extended family did not know about the pregnancy.

Subsequently, a birth parent may have never told their partner, children or grandchildren about the birth and may be fearful of the consequences of their secret being found out. They may then lodge a Contact Veto as a way of protecting their privacy.

An adopted person may not wish to be contacted by a birth parent or other birth family members as they may not wish to have contact whilst their adoptive parents are still alive.

Registering a Contact Veto

A Contact Veto registration can be lodged by the following people:

  • birth mothers
  • birth fathers – if their name appears on the adopted child’s Original Birth Certificate (issued before the adoption)
  • adopted people from the age of 17 years and 6 months.
If you register a Contact Veto, you are encouraged to leave a message to help the other person affected by the veto to better understand your reasons for the veto should they seek information. It is also helpful for the message to include some information about your current circumstances (married, children, general wellbeing) and some family medical history.

You will need to:

  1. download and complete the Contact Veto Register application form
  2. provide two forms of *certified identification at least one of which includes your signature Examples of identity documents include; photo driver’s license, Medicare card, passport, birth certificate, health care or pension card and student card
  3. provide *certified evidence of change of name, if applicable If you have changed your name please provide either; marriage certificate, change of name certificate or a statutory declaration explaining why you cannot provide documents showing your change of name and how you did this
  4. attach a message / letter to the application if you want to leave a message on the RIR.

*All identification must be certified as a ‘true copy of the original document’. The following people can certify copies of your original documents: a justice of the peace, caseworker of an adoption agency, doctor, solicitor, chemist or police officer.

Fees

There is no fee to lodge a Contact Veto.

How a Contact Veto works

A Contact Veto takes effect within a maximum of five days from the date your application is received at the AIU. A Contact Veto is not effective if prior to someone lodging a Contact Veto, the identifying information has already been released.

When an application is made to the AIU for an Adoption Information Certificate (identifying information) and a Contact Veto is found to exist, a Caseworker will support the applicant by telephone and inform them of their options. The applicant will also receive any information that has been left for them on the registration form.

The applicant will be required to sign an Undertaking Not to Make Contact with the person who has placed the veto, before the Adoption Information Certificate or identifying information can be released to them. The undertaking is legally binding and acknowledges awareness of the veto and the applicant’s agreement not to make contact and not to ask anyone else to make contact on their behalf. If the undertaking is breached and contact is made, they may be liable to pay a fine of $2750 and / or incur twelve months imprisonment.

The applicant may choose not to sign the undertaking. In these circumstances, they will not be provided with any identifying information.

The AIU is required to notify a person who has lodged a Contact Veto of an application for an Adoption Information Certificate. If you lodge a Contact Veto you will be informed in writing when such an application is made, whether the person signs the undertaking or not.

In certain circumstances the AIU can approach a person who has lodged a Contact Veto a minimum of six months after they were first informed of the application for an Adoption Information Certificate. This is to determine whether their circumstances have changed and if they still feel the same way about contact.

Removing your name from the Contact Veto Register

A person who lodges a Contact Veto may choose to remove or vary it at any time by submitting their request in writing to the FACS Adoption Information Unit with two forms of certified identification (at least one form of identification needs to include your signature). Requests for variations cannot be accepted by email or other electronic means.

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (24 hours/7 days)