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The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries recognises that photographing and filming children in the sport and recreation setting is usually performed in an appropriate manner and for good reason, however the inappropriate photographing and filming of children can occur which puts children at risk.

Sport and recreation organisations are expected to create and maintain safe environments that are fit for purpose, provide positive experiences and ensure the safety of children.


Provide leading practice for the sport and recreation industry in creating child safe environments.


  • Advances in technology have enabled the ability to take photographs on a variety of devices, increasing the difficulty in monitoring photographing/filming practices.  
  • Photographs can be taken secretly without the consent of the subject and used for inappropriate purposes.
  • Digital photographs can easily be altered and/or transmitted quickly to vast audiences and place children at risk.


In Australia, there are no laws specifically prohibiting photographing and filming people (including children) in public places. It is a legitimate pursuit to film and take photos at sporting events. 

The laws around governing the taking of photograph(s) and filming exist to safeguard the privacy and safety of people (including children) from exploitation and inappropriate use of their image without placing undue restrictions on legitimate activities. It is unlawful for photograph(s) and film to be taken that is:

  • indecent
  • defamatory
  • used to cyber bully
  • used for commercial purposes without the consent of the subject
  • being used for voyeurism
  • protected by a court order
  • in a provocative or sexual manner.

The rules around photographing and filming people on private property differ to that on public property.

Having free access to a place does not mean it is a public place and is permissible to take photographs/film, such as; schools, child care services, hospitals, nursing homes, shopping malls, sports arenas and music venues. These places are considered to be private property even if they are owned by government.

In circumstances that a sports organisation has been given control over a public place (such as a beach or park) with the agreement of the local government, the sports organisation will be able to control access by photographers to the area. However, photography may still be possible from publicly accessible places that overlook the controlled area.

The owner of private property has the right to restrict, ban or require permission of photography anywhere on their venue. Where a sporting event is held on private property not owned by the organisers, it is good practice to determine a mutually agreed photographing policy.

Sport and recreation organisations may impose their own rules to safeguard the privacy and safety of their participants.

It is courteous for sport and recreation organisations to seek permission to take photographs/film of their participants that would be used for promotional purposes. This could be administered as a streamlined process at the time of member/participant affiliation.

In the instance that a person is considered to be photographing, filming and/or sharing images inappropriately then it is advised to immediately alert one of the following; event security/organisers, peak sport and recreation body (club, regional or state sporting association), social media entity(s) and/or WA Police.

Play by the Rules provides information for sport and recreation organisations to mitigate risks for acquiring and displaying images. 


The department has partnered with the Sport West, the Working with Children Screening Unit, Surf Life Saving WA and the WA Police — Child Abuse Squad to create Safe Clubs 4 Kids — an educational program which supports SSAs and their affiliated clubs to create child-safe environments and minimise risk. Safe Clubs 4 Kids aims to increase industry understanding of how to create safe environments, how to recognise the signs of abuse and what to do if child abuse is suspected or alleged within sport and recreation environments. 


Manager, Industry Development
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries — Sport and Recreation
Telephone 61 8 6552 7300

Useful websites

Advice and resources for parents and clubs - Play by the Rules website


6 September 2016


1 February 2017

Page reviewed 11 September 2023