The Marshall Liberal Government is introducing legislation to protect young people from online adult predators who lie about their age as part of a plan to meet the child or commit a criminal offence against the child.
“The shocking death of Carly Ryan in 2007 highlighted the dangers of young people being deceived by online adult predators and the need for the law to impose severe penalties on those who try,” said Attorney General Vickie Chapman.
“Carly was pursued online by an adult predator who pretended to be a teenage boy and groomed, deceived and subsequently murdered Carly after she rejected his advances.
“Carly’s Law is a warning to adults who entertain the idea of masquerading online as children when interacting with children – don’t.
“The Marshall Liberal Government is committed to improving the safety of children online and the Bill provides heavy penalties for adults who flaunt these new laws.
“To better protect children these strict new laws enable police to intervene at a very early stage in the process.
“It’s important that the law moves with changing technology and criminals’ modus operandi as information technology reaches further and further into people’s lives.”
The Dishonest Communication with Children Bill creates two new offences for adults who communicate with children online.
“Once an adult lies online about their identity to a child whilst attempting to meet the child they are liable to five years in prison,” said Ms Chapman.
“Where an adult intending to commit a criminal offence against a child lies to that child about their identity that adult is liable to spend 10 years in jail.”
The first new offence would make it an offence punishable by a maximum of five years imprisonment for a person to knowingly communicate with a child and to make a false statement that the person is younger than they are or someone other than who they are in such communications and meet or arrange to meet the child.
The second offence would make it an offence punishable by a maximum of 10 years imprisonment for a person with the intention of committing an offence against the child to knowingly communicate with a child and to make a false statement that the person is younger than they are or someone other than who they are.