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Carly's Law introduced to protect young Australians online

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The Hon Michael Keenan MP Minister for Justice

Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Counter Terrorism


30 March 2017

Carly’s Law introduced to protect young Australians online

The Australian Government today introduced tough new laws in Parliament that crack down on online predators, creating greater protection for young Australians and an enduring legacy for Carly Ryan.

The Criminal Code Amendment (Protecting Minors Online) Bill will target online predators preparing or planning to cause harm to, procure, or engage in sexual activity with a child. Importantly, this will include those who misrepresent their age.

The Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said the new laws would enable law enforcement to take action against predators sooner and with greater consequence.

“The new offence will provide police the power to intervene before predators have a chance to act, before a child is harmed,” Minister Keenan said.

“It will also serve as a strong deterrent, with a tough new sentence of 10 years prison for convicted offenders.

“This legislation is a testament to Sonya Ryan who has tirelessly worked towards this since her 15 year old daughter Carly was murdered a decade ago by an online predator posing as a teenage boy.”

Sonya Ryan, founder and CEO of the Carly Ryan Foundation, said the tough new laws would protect young Australians online.

“I'm so very happy to have worked with Minister Keenan on getting Carly's law introduced,” she said.

“We have now given police and prosecutors a new weapon which they can use to intervene sooner before a child becomes a victim.

“This law is a beautiful tribute to Carly's legacy that will give greater protection to children, teenagers and families.”

Carly’s Law complements the Government’s ongoing work to counter online sexual exploitation of children, including through the AFP’s ThinkUKnow program that educates students, parents and teachers about dangers online.

It also builds on work that this Government initiated with states and territories in October 2016, appointing a working group to review existing and potential initiatives to combat child sex offenders.

The working group will report back before the end of 2017 on operational aspects of sex offender registration schemes, post-sentence court-ordered schemes, the restriction of overseas travel by convicted child sex offenders and public notification schemes.

Media contact: Danielle McKay 0438 390 273 or Shannen Wilkinson 0476 820 816