Australia tables law against online child predators

Canberra, March 2 (IANS) Australia has tabled a new law stipulating tougher action against online paedophiles, including prison sentences of up to 10 years for adults who lie about their age to children online, the justice ministry said on Thursday.

The new law, awaiting ratification by Parliament, will allow police to intervene earlier in cases where a person is preparing for or planning to cause harm or involves sexual activity with a minor, Efe news reported.

The steps are part of Carly’s Law, named after Carly Ryan, a 15-year-old girl murdered in 2007 on a beach by a 52-year-old online paedophile.

Carly’s mother Sonya then launched a campaign to demand increased online protection for children after discovering that her daughter’s killer, Gary Newman, had created a fake online profile, tricking Carly into believing he was an 18-year-old American musician called Brandon.

The killer sent his victim online messages and phone calls over 18 months and even met her family posing as Brandon’s father.

Newman was sentenced to life in prison in 2010.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan praised Sonya Ryan during a Parliament session in Canberra and said she had turned a story about the loss of a life into one that would now save many others.

The law, which was introduced into the Senate by Senator Nick Xenophon, was rejected in 2014 for being “too broad in its application”.

–IANS

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