CARLY’S LAW INTRODUCED TO PARLIAMENT TODAY

26 February 2013
  • WILL CLOSE LOOPHOLE FOR ONLINE PREDATORS

Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, is today introducing a bill that will make it a criminal offence for online predators to lie about their age to children.

Named ‘Carly’s Law’ in memory of South Australian Carly Ryan, who was brutally murdered in 2007, the Criminal Code Amendment (Misrepresentation of Age to a Minor) Bill 2013 makes it an offence for an adult to lie about their age in online communications with someone they believe to be a minor for the purpose of facilitating a meeting or committing another offence.

“Carly believed she was meeting a 20 year old man she’d fallen for,” Nick said. “Instead, she met with a 47 year old predator who murdered her.”

Senator Xenophon said one of the biggest problems with existing law is that there are not enough measures in place to stop online predators before they meet with children and commit a physical offence.

“There is no good reason why an adult would deliberately mislead a minor about their age, except to make themselves seem more approachable,” Nick said. “This bill provides an extra safety net, so that predators can be caught before they can meet with kids in person.”

“What happened to Carly was a tragedy,” Nick said. “While nothing will ever take away that pain for her family and friends, I hope this bill can go some way to making sure our children are better protected by the law.”

Sonya Ryan, Carly’s mother, was nominated as South Australia’s Australian of the Year this year for her work in raising awareness of internet safety among young people.

“Sonya has worked tirelessly to protect other children,” Nick said. “It’s time the Government got on board with her crusade and passed this bill.”

The bill will be referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee for inquiry.

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