CARLY’S LAW – TO PROTECT CHILDREN AGAINST ONLINE PREDATORS – A STEP CLOSER

2 June 2017

Protecting more children from online predators moves a step closer today as a Senate Committee holds a hearing at Parliament House to inquire into the Bill for ‘Carly’s Law’.

Named after 15-year-old South Australian, Carly Ryan, who was murdered in February 2007 by an online predator who was a 50 year old man posing as an 18 year old, the hearing represents a significant step forward after years of campaigning. Carly’s mother and founder of the Carly Ryan Foundation, Sonya Ryan, and Senator Nick Xenophon together with his colleague Senator Skye Kakoschke-Moore reached agreement with the Federal Government in March, after lengthy negotiations, to bring in a new offence

The Bill, the Criminal Code Amendment (Protecting Minors Online) Bill 2017, will fill an existing gap in the Criminal Code by allowing police to intervene when a predator is preparing to cause harm. Crucially, for the first time, this will include when a predator lies about their age to a child.

“The hearing today will give us the opportunity to reinforce why legislative reform is so necessary in order to better protect our children,” Senator Kakoschke-Moore said.

“Carly’s Law was drafted in close consultation with the AFP who understand what is needed on the frontline and in the court room. This is a big step forward.”

Senator Xenophon paid tribute to Sonya Ryan for her tireless work to prevent other children suffering the same fate as Carly. “This important piece of legislation is testament to Sonya’s patience and persistence. It will protect so many children from online predators, and give police the powers they need to intervene at a much earlier stage,” said Nick.

Sonya Ryan, who will give evidence before the inquiry at 9.00am (Canberra time) today, said: “Under current procuring and grooming laws there has to be in effect a victim of crime before authorities can act, as there must be evidence of harm caused to a child, by virtue of sexual purpose or intent. Carly’s Law will change all of that by giving police the power to intervene before a child is harmed.”

Details of the Senate Inquiry can be found here.

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