Carly's Law introduced to Senate

ONLINE predators who lie about their age to lure unsuspecting children into meeting them would be breaking the law under a new bill being considered by the Federal Parliament.

The bill, named Carly's Law, was introduced to the Senate this week by independent Nick Xenophon.

It is named after Carly Ryan, who was murdered in 2007 by a man she met and formed a relationship with online.

The man, 50-year-old Gary Newman, had convinced Carly he was a 20-year-old musician from Melbourne.

"What happened to Carly was a tragedy," Senator Xenophon said.

"While nothing will ever take away that pain for her family and friends, I hope this bill can go some way to making sure our children are better protected by the law."

Senator Xenophon's bill, which will be examined by the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee, would make it an offence for an adult to lie about their age in online communications with someone they believed to be a minor for the purpose of facilitating a meeting or committing another offence.

One of the biggest problems with existing legislation, Senator Xenophon said, was a dearth of measures to stop online predators before they meet with children and commit a crime.

"There is no good reason why an adult would deliberately mislead a minor about their age, except to make themselves seem more approachable," he said.

"This bill provides an extra safety net, so that predators can be caught before they can meet with kids in person."

Senator Xenophon's bill has the support of Carly's mother Sonya Ryan, who has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of internet safety among young people.



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