Twenty-first century laws to fight against child exploitation

Laws aimed at cracking down on people who distribute or help distribute child pornography have been introduced to State Parliament today by the Marshall Liberal Government.

The new bill includes specific offences to ensure offenders who manage or promote websites featuring child exploitation material can be prosecuted.

Under the laws, it would also be illegal to provide information that would help someone avoid apprehension for an offence involving child exploitation material.

“The possession and distribution of child pornography is utterly vile behaviour that perpetrates the abuse of children, and those involved in this practice, or who support it, should face the full force of the law,” Attorney General Chapman said.

“These laws ensure that people who administer or host websites that deal with this sickening material – even if they are not technically in possession of it – can be prosecuted.”

Ms Chapman said the new laws would also increase police powers to access encrypted or password protected material held by suspects.

“Our laws need to keep pace with technology, which is why there are now specific provisions that will allow investigators to seek approval from the Magistrates Court to compel people to provide information to access encrypted material,” Ms Chapman said.

“That can include the provision of passwords, fingerprints, facial scans or retinal scans – whatever enables authorities to access a device that may contain evidence of a serious offence.

“Anyone who fails to comply with the order could face up to five years imprisonment.

“These are significant changes to the law that will ensure authorities have the powers they need and can take the appropriate action to help stop this online menace.

“Unfortunately, the former Government had the option to progress these reforms last year but chose not to.

“This Government has continued work on this Bill, further consulting with SAPOL and the Courts on the best way to search and prosecute sexual offenders,” Ms Chapman said.