New law to protect young people from online predators

Government backs ‘Carly’s Law’

The has announced government is backing a modified version of ‘Carly’s Law’, legislation initially proposed by South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon to combat online grooming of minors.

‘Carly’s Law’ is named after Sonya Ryan’s daughter, who 15 when she murdered by a person who had posed online as a young man.

Xenophon in 2013 introduced a bill — Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 — that would make it an offence for an adult to intentionally misrepresent their age online to a minor “for the purposes of encouraging a physical meeting, or with the intention of committing an offence”.

That bill lapsed at the end of the 43rd parliament.

The government today announced that it would back a modified version of the proposed law.

“What this will enable the police to do is to intervene much earlier to protect our kids from the online environment, and when they do so and they arrest somebody, that person will face much more serious penalties,” justice minister Michael Keenan told a press conference.

The offence will have a maximum penalty of 10 years’ jail.

“Carly’s Law, the law that we are announcing today, is the direct result of a decade-long crusade by Sonya,” the minister said. “She has worked for this outcome to make it a better world for our kids, and to make it a safer world for them when they are operating in the online environment.”

The minister thanked senators Nick Xenophon, Skye Kakoschke-Moore and Derryn Hinch for their work supporting the push by Sonya Ryan and the Carly Ryan Foundation to have the measured introduced.

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