SENATE COMMITTEE TO CONSIDER CARLY’S LAW

3 March 2014

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee will today consider the need for laws to protect minors from predators misrepresenting their age online and seeking to arrange physical meetings.

Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, who introduced the bill late last year, said it was his third attempt to get support for such laws.

Named ‘Carly’s Law’ after fifteen year old Carly Ryan, who was brutally murdered by internet predator Gary Francis Newman in 2007, the bill makes it an offence for someone who is over 18 years of age to lie about their age to someone under 16 for the purpose of encouraging a physical meeting. Sonya Ryan, Carly’s mother and founder of the Carly Ryan Foundation, will be giving evidence to the committee this morning.

“Internet predators often construct fake online profiles, representing themselves as much younger people,” Nick said. “In Newman’s case, he pretended to be a 20 year old musician named Brandon Kane to lure Carly into a meeting. Police found Newman had over 200 online identities.”

“This bill means someone like Newman would have committed an offence – and therefore could have been arrested - long before he convinced Carly to meet him in person.”

Senator Xenophon said the current laws relating to online predators required proof that there was a sexual purpose in arranging a meeting.

“We need to give police the powers to step in before children are harmed,” Nick said. “What excuse could an adult have to lie about their age to a child to encourage them to meet?”

Senator Xenophon said he was looking for further guidance from the AFP and the Attorney-General’s Department in relation to the provisions of the bill.

“I’ve already made significant changes to each version of the bill, and I’ll keep going until I can get Government support for this incredibly important issue.”

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee will today consider the need for laws to protect minors from predators misrepresenting their age online and seeking to arrange physical meetings.Independent Senator for South Australia, Nick Xenophon, who introduced the bill late last year, said it was his third attempt to get support for such laws.Named ‘Carly’s Law’ after fifteen year old Carly Ryan, who was brutally murdered by internet predator Gary Francis Newman in 2007, the bill makes it an offence for someone who is over 18 years of age to lie about their age to someone under 16 for the purpose of encouraging a physical meeting. Sonya Ryan, Carly’s mother and founder of the Carly Ryan Foundation, will be giving evidence to the committee this morning.“Internet predators often construct fake online profiles, representing themselves as much younger people,” Nick said. “In Newman’s case, he pretended to be a 20 year old musician named Brandon Kane to lure Carly into a meeting. Police found Newman had over 200 online identities.”“This bill means someone like Newman would have committed an offence – and therefore could have been arrested - long before he convinced Carly to meet him in person.”Senator Xenophon said the current laws relating to online predators required proof that there was a sexual purpose in arranging a meeting.“We need to give police the powers to step in before children are harmed,” Nick said. “What excuse could an adult have to lie about their age to a child to encourage them to meet?”Senator Xenophon said he was looking for further guidance from the AFP and the Attorney-General’s Department in relation to the provisions of the bill.“I’ve already made significant changes to each version of the bill, and I’ll keep going until I can get Government support for this incredibly important issue.”

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