Australian Capital Territory

Population

392,000

Population 0‑14

19.0%
* Statistics provided by CIA.gov, Internet World Stats and GSMA Intellligence

2007 – The government’s four-year $20 million Smart Schools: Smart Students initiative was launched. The program aimed to renew the public school infrastructure and provide schools with the latest technology and high-speed Internet access, enhancing the learning and teaching experience. Phase 1 concentrated on increasing the bandwidth connection and improving its reliability, with most schools receiving wireless networks. Phase 2 aimed to transform the classroom, introducing video-on-demand, video conferencing, podcasting and datacasting through a Connected Learning Community portal (cLc). A Parent Portal enabled parents to access their child’s class work securely. Phase 3 of the program will provide a shared online library system, enabling schools to integrate their library catalogues and access them remotely.

2008 – ICT education is listed as a critical part of the ACT curriculum framework, and specific learning objectives are set for ICT use. Students are to develop confidence and enjoyment in using ICT for different purposes, have an attitude of openness to using ICT in new ways, and appreciate the legal and ethical use of information created by others using ICT. Learning goals are broken down into four age groups, from early childhood to late adolescence. ICT use is to be integrated into all learning areas under this plan, and responsible use guidelines to minimize health and safety risks are emphasized. The same year, the ACT had the greatest percentage of students attaining proficiency in using ICT appropriately, when compared to all other Australian states.

2009 – The education department published a set of guidelines for school safety, entitled “Our School: a Safe and Happy Place for Everyone.” This includes acceptable use standards for the use of information technology. An education program encouraging parents and teachers to discuss online safety with children was piloted in some ACT schools.

Also in 2009, the fibre to schools project was completed, providing a high-bandwidth network to ACT schools. This enables faster internet services, video conferencing and more responsive applications.

2010 – The ACT Government ICT in Primary Schools project commenced.This three-year program aimed to deliver a minimum 1:6 ratio of computers to students in kindergarten to year 6, as well as a ratio of 1:2 Interactive whiteboards per classroom. Portable interactive plasma displays were also provided to each public preschool under this program.

2011 – The student summit “Who R U in the Digital World” was held in Canberra. An initiative by the ACT Safe Schools Taskforce and supported by the Australian Federal Police, the ACT government and the IT provider InTACT, more than 300 Year 9 student representatives and teachers from across the ACT were expected to participate. The summit gave participants the opportunity to take part in workshops and learn from experts in the field of cybersafety. Educators could also take part in professional workshops about the use of digital technologies in the classroom.

As part of the Smart Schools initiative, all public schools were expected to be online for the beginning of the 2011. In addition to 4,258 netbook computers already purchased for ACT schools, 5,000 more netbooks were to be purchased by the end of the year to meet the 1:1 ratio required by the Digital Education Revolution National Partnership.

Also in 2011, the state began using Atomic Learning, an online learning portal. It was integrated with the cLc to allow users to improve their skills in programs like Adobe and Microsoft. The portal offers instructional videos and self-pace learning programs for students and staff.

2015 – The Education Directorate launched its Resources, Anywhere: The Digital Backpack program. The program provides an online portal giving students safe, secure access to online learning platforms. This includes Google Apps for Education, free downloads of Microsoft Office, eBooks and MyLearning, an online environment with a range of digital collaborative tools. The toolkit includes a Cybersafety Help Button which makes cybersafety information on online risks, like cyberbullying and inappropriate content, readily available to users.

The same year, the department began a bring-your-own device program for public school students, called Connect Anywhere: Personal Devices. Students can use their own devices to connect to the school’s wireless network, and schools have ICT equipment students can use at the school to ensure equitable access.

ACT Council of Parents & Citizens Associations

This group represents the opinions of parents and community members regarding public education. It communicates with decision makers, contributes to policy development, and consults with public school parent and community groups to identify issue areas.

Australian Capital Territory Policing

The territory’s police department provides information geared toward parents on online safety, cyberbullying, internet fraud, child abuse and child sexual abuse.

Canberra Rape Crisis Centre

The centre provides services to all victims of sexual abuse, including children. It offers counselling, crisis appointments, a hotlines, support groups and advocacy, among other services.

Centre for Internet Safety

This research centre within the University of Canberra aims to foster a safer Internet by providing academic leadership and policy advice on the social, legal, political and economic implications of cybercrime and cybersecurity issues.

Child and Youth Protection Services

CYPS receives reports of concern about young people, which may include physical, emotional or sexual abuse, or neglect. It provides case management services to youth, among other services.

Education Directorate

This department provides education and training throughout the territory. Among its many tasks, it teaches acceptable uses of ICT and mobile phones, and aims to provide safe schools by countering bullying. The website also provides detailed information on online safety, including protecting personal data and cyberbullying.

Youth InterACT

This youth participation strategy aims to encourage young people to participate in the community and contribute to discussions on youth issues.

A Longitudinal Study on the Uses of Mobile Tablet Devices and Changes in Digital Media Literacy of Young Adults (2013)

S. Park, S. Burford

This study examined whether gaining access to a new digital device enhanced the digital media literacy of young adults and what factors determine such change.

Digital Technology and Australian Teenagers: Consumption, Study and Careers (2013)

K. Macpherson

This study of teens in the ACT generated detailed primary evidence about high school student use of ICT, perceptions of use of ICT at school, perceptions of ICT as a discipline, and motivations regarding career choices.

The Information Systems Discipline in Australia’s Capital (2008)

S. Gregor, E. Lewis, C. McDonald

This paper provides an overview of the state of information systems studies at three universities in Canberra.

Safety in Cyberspace: Adolescents' Safety and Exposure Online (2006)

M.J. Fleming, S. Greentree, D. Cocotti-Muller, K.A. Elias, S. Morrison

This study of Australian teens examined aspects of their Internet use and, in particular, their exposure to inappropriate material and behaviors online and their online safety practices.

This section contains details of the state’s laws as they relate to sexual offenses, children and the use of the Internet in the commission of criminal activity. Where possible, sentence details have been given, including whether an increased custodial penalty is imposed where the victim is a child.

The age of consent in the Australian Capital Territory is 16 years old.

  • Children and Young People Act 2008. This act created a group of mandatory reporters of child sexual and physical abuse. Mandatory reporters of suspected abuse include doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, teachers, police, counsellors, and child care workers.
  • Section 37, Crimes Act. Abduction of young person. This section states that any person who unlawfully takes, or causes to be taken, an unmarried person under the age of 16 years out of the lawful control and against the will of a person having lawful control of the unmarried person is guilty of an offence. This is punishable by imprisonment for five years.
  • Section 40, Crimes Act. Unlawfully taking child etc. A person who, by force or deception, leads, takes or entices away or detains a child under the age of 12, (a) intending unlawfully to deprive another person of the lawful control of the child; or (b) intending to steal any article on or about the person of the child is guilty of this offence. This is punishable by 10 years’ imprisonment.
  • Section 51, Crimes Act. Sexual assault in the first degree. A person who inflicts grievous bodily harm on another person with the intent to engage in sexual intercourse with that person, or with a third person who is near, is guilty of this offence. This is punishable by 17 years’ imprisonment. A person who, acting with any other person, inflicts or assists in inflicting grievous bodily harm on a third person so that the first person or anyone in his/her company should engage in sexual intercourse with the third person or with another person who is near is guilty of a crime punishable by 20 years’ imprisonment.
  • Section 52, Crimes Act. Sexual assault in the second degree. A person who inflicts actual bodily harm on another person with the intent to engage in sexual intercourse with that person, or with a third person who is near, is guilty of this offence. This is punishable by 14 years’ imprisonment. A person who, acting with any other person, inflicts or assists in inflicting actual bodily harm on a third person so that the first person or anyone in his/her company should engage in sexual intercourse with the third person or with another person who is near is guilty of a crime punishable by 17 years’ imprisonment.
  • Section 53, Crimes Act. Sexual assault in the third degree. A person who unlawfully assaults, or threatens to inflict grievous or actual bodily harm on, another person with intent to engage in sexual intercourse with that other person, or with a third person who is near, is guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment for 12 years. A person who, acting in company with any other person, unlawfully assaults, or threatens to inflict grievous or actual bodily harm on, a third person with the intent that the first person, or any person with whom he or she is in company, should engage in sexual intercourse with that third person, or with any other person who is near, is guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment for 14 years.
  • Section 54, Crimes Act. Sexual intercourse without consent. A person who engages in sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of that other person and who is reckless as to whether that other person consents to the sexual intercourse is guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment for 12 years. A person who, acting in company with any other person, engages in sexual intercourse with another person without the consent of that other person and who is reckless as to whether that other person consents to the sexual intercourse is guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment for 14 years.
  • Section 55, Crimes Act. Sexual intercourse with young person. A person who engages in sexual intercourse with another person who is under the age of 10 years is guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment for 17 years. A person who engages in sexual intercourse with another person who is under the age of 16 years is guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment for 14 years. It is a defence to prove that the defendant believed on reasonable grounds that the person 16 or older, or at the time of the offence the person was 10 or older and the defendant was not more than two years older, and the person consented to sexual intercourse.
  • Section 55A, Crimes Act. Sexual intercourse with young person under special care. A person commits an offence if the person engages in sexual intercouse with a young person under his/her special care. The maximum penalty is 10 years’ imprisonment. This does not apply if the person is not more than two years older than the young person. It is a defence to prove that the defendant reasonably believed that the young person was at least 18 years old.
  • Section 56, Crimes Act. Maintaining a sexual relationship with young person. This section states that an adult who maintains a sexual relationship with a young person (under 16 years old) is guilty of an offence. For the purposes of this section, a sexual relationship has taken place if the adult has engaged in a sexual act with the young person on three or more occasions. This is punishable by seven years’ imprisonment. If a person guilty of this crime committed another offence against the young person, during the course of the relationship, and the other offence is punishable by imprisonment for less than 14 years, or at least 14 years, they are subject to 14 years or life imprisonment, respectively.
  • Section 57, Crimes Act. Act of indecency in the first degree. A person who inflicts grievous bodily harm on another person with intent to commit an act of indecency on, or in the presence of, that other person, or a third person, is guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment for 15 years.
  • Section 58, Crimes Act. Act of indecency in the second degree. A person who inflicts actual bodily harm on another person with intent to commit an act of indecency on, or in the presence of, that other person, or a third person, is guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment for 12 years.
  • Section 59, Crimes Act. Act of indecency in the third degree. A person who unlawfully assaults, or threatens to inflict grievous or actual bodily harm on, another person with intent to commit an act of indecency on, or in the presence of, that other person, or a third person, is guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment for 10 years.
  • Section 60, Crimes Act. Act of indecency without consent. A person who commits an act of indecency on, or in the presence of, another person without the consent of that person and who is reckless as to whether that other person consents to the committing of the act of indecency is guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment for seven years. A person who, acting in company with any other person, commits an act of indecency on, or in the presence of, another person without the consent of that other person and who is reckless as to whether that other person consents to the committing of the act of indecency is guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment for nine years.
  • Section 61, Crimes Act. Acts of indecency with young people. A person who commits an act of indecency on, or in the presence of, another person who is under the age of 10 is guilty of an offence punishable by imprisonment for 12 years. If the other person is under the age of 16, the offender is subject to imprisonment for 10 years. It is a defence to prove that the defendant believed on reasonable grounds that the person on whom the offence was committed was 16 or older, or at the time of the offence the person on whom the offence was committed was 10 or older and the defendant was not more than two years older, and that the person consented to committing the act of indecency.
  • Section 61A, Crimes Act. Act of indecency with young person under special care. A person commits this offence if the person commits an act of indecency on or in the presence of a young person under his/her special care. The maximum penalty is seven years’ imprisonment. This section does not apply if the person is not more than two years older than the young person. It is a defence to prove that the defendant reasonably believed that the young person was at least 18 years old.
  • Section 61B, Crimes Act. Intimate observations or capturing visual data etc. A person commits an offence if he/she observes another person with the aid of a device, or captures visual data of another person and a reasonable person would consider this to be an invasion of privacy and indecent. The maximum penalty is 200 penalty units and/or two years’ imprisonment. It is a defence to prove that the defendant reasonably believed that the other person consented to the action, or that the defendant did not know and could not reasonably be expected to have known that the act lacked consent. If the offender observes with the aid of a device or captures visual data of another person’s genital or anal region, or female breasts, the maximum penalty is 200 penalty units and/or two years’ imprisonment. It is a defence to prove that that the defendant reasonably believed that the other person consented to the action, or that the defendant did not know and could not reasonably be expected to have known that the act lacked consent.
  • Section 64, Crimes Act. Using child for production of child exploitation material etc. A person commits an offence if the person uses, offers or procures a child for the production of child exploitation material or for a pornographic performance and the child is under 12 years old. The maximum penalty is 1,500 penalty units and/or 15 years’ imprisonment. If the child is 12 or older, the maximum penalty is 1,000 penalty units and/or 10 years’ imprisonment.
  • Section 64A, Crimes Act. Trading in child exploitation material. A person commits this offence if he/she produces, publishes, offers or sells child exploitation material. The maximum penalty is 1,200 penalty units and/or 12 years’ imprisonment.
  • Section 65, Crimes Act. Possessing child exploitation material. A person commits an offence if the person intentionally possesses pornography and the pornography is child exploitation material. The maximum penalty is 700 penalty units and/or seven years’ imprisonment. It is a defence to prove that the defendant had no reasonable grounds for suspecting that the pornography concerned was child pornography.
  • Section 79, Crimes Act. Sexual servitude offences. A person commits this offence if his/her conduct causes someone else to enter into or remain in sexual servitude and the person intends to cause, or is reckless to causing, someone else to enter into or remain in sexual servitude. If a person conducts a business that involves the sexual servitude of others and knows that, or is reckless about whether, the business involves the sexual servitude of others they are guilty of this offence. The maximum penalty is 15 years’ imprisonment for either form of this crime, and is 19 years’ imprisonment for aggravated offences.
  • Section 80, Crimes Act. Deceptive recruiting for sexual services. A person commits an offence if the person, with the intention of inducing someone else to enter into an engagement to provide sexual services, deceives the other person about the fact that the engagement will involve the provision of sexual services. The maximum penalty is seven years’ imprisonment, and for aggravated offences is nine years’ imprisonment.
  • Section 81, Crimes Act. Increased penalty for aggravated offences. To prove an aggravated offence, the prosecution must prove that the defendant intended to commit, or was reckless about committing, the offence against a person younger than 18 years old.
  • Section 415, Crimes Act. Unauthorised access, modification or impairment with intent to commit serious offence. A person commits this offence if he/she causes unauthorized access to or modification of data held in a computer, or unauthorized impairment of electronic communication to or from a computer, and the person knows the access is unauthorized and intends to commit or enable a serious offence. The maximum penalty applicable is is penalty had the person committed or enabled the serious offence attempted.
  • Section 416, Crimes Act. Unauthorised modification of data to cause impairment. A person commits this offence if the person causes unauthorized modification of data held in a computer, the person knows the modification is unauthorized and the person (a) intends by the modification to impair access to, or to impair the reliability, security or operation of, data held in a computer; or (b) is reckless about any such impairment. The maximum penalty is 1,000 penalty units and/or imprisonment for 10 years.
  • Section 417, Crimes Act. Unauthorised impairment of electronic communication. A person commits this offence if he/she causes an unauthorised impairment of electronic communication to or from a computer, knows the impairment is unauthorized and the person (a) intends to impair electronic communication to or from the computer; or (b) is reckless about any such impairment. The maximum penalty is 1,000 penalty units and/or 10 years.
  • Section 418, Crimes Act. Possession of data with intent to commit serious computer offence. A person commits an offence if the person has possession or control of data with the intention of committing a serious computer offence or enabling the commission of a serious computer offence (whether by the person or by someone else). The maximum penalty is 300 penalty units and/or three years’ imprisonment.
  • Section 419, Crimes Act. Producing, supplying or obtaining data with intent to commit serious computer offence. A person commits an offence if the person produces, supplies or obtains data with the intention of committing a serious computer offence or enabling the commission of a serious computer offence (whether by the person or by someone else). The maximum penalty is 300 penalty units and/or three years’ imprisonment.
  • Section 420, Crimes Act. Unauthorised access to or modification of restricted data held in computer. A person commits an offence if the person causes unauthorised access to or modification of restricted data held in a computer; and the person knows the access or modification is unauthorised and the person intends to cause the access or modification. The maximum penalty is 200 penalty units and/or two years’ imprisonment.
  • Section 421, Crimes Act. Unauthorised impairment of data held in computer disc, credit card etc. A person commits an offence if he/she causes unauthorised impairment of the reliability, security or operation of data held in a computer disc, credit card or other device used to store data by electronic means, knows the impairment is unauthorised and intends to cause the impairment. The maximum penalty is 200 penalty units and/or two years’ imprisonment.

2001 – A measure was added to the Crimes Act to criminalize using the Internet and other forms of electronic communication to deprave young people. Under this section, a person must not use electronic means to suggest to a young person that the young person commit, take part in, or watch someone else do an act of a sexual nature. The maximum penalty for a first offence is seven years’ imprisonment, and increases to 10 years’ imprisonment for second or subsequent offences.

This section also makes it illegal to use electronic means to send or make available pornographic material to a young person. The maximum penalty is 700 penalty units and/or seven years’ imprisonment. It is not a defence to prove that the young person consented to the suggestion being made, or the material being sent or made available. It is a defence to prove that the defendant believed on reasonable grounds that the young person was at least 16 years old. In this section, electronic means includes emails, Internet chat rooms, SMS messages and real time audio/video.