1997 – The NSW Student Access to the Internet strategy began. The strategy provided guidelines for using the Internet to improve learning outcomes in curriculum-specific contexts, and advocated for the development of strategies to support teaching and learning using the Internet. It also states that schools are responsible for the information students send and receive while using the school Internet connection, in addition to their responsibility to ensure students use the Internet safely, effectively and responsibly.
2005 – The Allegations Against Employees in the Area of Child Protection policy was enacted. It outlines the education department’s legislative responsibilities and commitment to protecting the safety and well-being of students. The department must respond to allegations regarding child protection when related to the actions of an employee and ensure that appropriate action is taken. Allegations or convictions of a child protection nature made against an employee must be reported to the Ombudsman and the names of such employees must be reported to the Commission for Children and Young People.
2006 – The Online Communication Services policy for NSW schools was implemented. The policy defines appropriate and acceptable uses of the Internet and online communication services provided by the Department of Education. It includes privacy and confidentiality measures, intellectual property and copyright rules, and regulations for students’ online activities. Students are to report any inappropriate content and suspected security breaches, and records of students’ web browsing and email history are kept for two years.
Also in 2006, the Student Discipline in Government Schools Policy went into effect, replacing the 2005 Anti-Bullying Plan. According to the plan, each school must have a discipline policy developed in partnership with school community members.
2007 – The education department’s Communication Devices & Associated Services Policy was implemented. It lists the responsibilities of staff regarding the use of departmental communication devices and associated services, including broadband, mobile phones, computers and email. Using department communication devices to seek out, access, store or send any material of an offensive, obscene, pornographic, threatening, abusive or defamatory nature is prohibited.
2009 – The Digital Education Revolution in New South Wales project was launched. It aimed to improve public school students’ digital literacy and prepare them to compete in a global market, in part by providing students with laptop computers.
2010 – The Protecting and Supporting Children and Young People Policy established roles and responsibilities for school staff regarding child protection. This includes training, reporting on safety issues, supporting children and young people, as well as monitoring, evaluation and reporting requirements. The policy recognizes the role educators play in aiding children and young people, and identifying risks to their safety or well-being, and mandates that all staff report such risks.
2011 – The education department’s social media policy for employees was put into place. The policy outlines standards of use for employees using social media for official, professional and personal use.
The same year, the department’s student bullying prevention and response policy took effect. The policy defines bullying, including cyberbullying, and sets expectations for principals, school staff, students, parents and caregivers, and the community at-large.
The education department also developed a website for students, parents and educators focusing solely on digital citizenship. Interactive online lessons provide a range of activities, showcasing what good digital citizenship looks like, and providing strategies to deal with inappropriate online content or encounters. Games enable students to practice what they have learned, and videos offer more information. An implementation guide for teachers presents different options of how to incorporate lessons about digital citizenship into the current curriculum, and parents’ concerns are addressed in multiple guides.
2012 – By February 2012, the Digital Education Revolution project provided 911,000 laptops to Year 9 to 12 students.
2013 – The Student Bring Your Own Device Policy went into effect, establishing requirements for schools that allow students to use personal mobile electronic devices at school for learning purposes. Internet access through the public school’s Wi-Fi system is available to students for free. Guidelines governing students’ use of these devices are also outlined.
2014 – The Board of Studies, Teaching & Educational Standards NSW was created to sustain and improve the standards of achievement in NSW schools. It develops curriculum for Kindergarten through Year 12 students, registers and accredits schools, and accredits teachers, among other functions. Its NSW Students Online portal connects Year 10-12 students with information about assessments, exams and grades through personal accounts.
2015 – Domestic violence prevention lessons were added to the mandatory Year 7-10 Personal Development, Health and Physical Education syllabi. The curriculum includes recognizing the signs and symptoms of abuse and providing information about support services.
Advocate for Children and Young People (ACYP)
ACYP is an independent statutory office that reports to the NSW Parliament, and was established under the Advocate for Children and Young People Act 2014. The office advocates for the well-being of children and young people, promotes the participation of children and young people in decisions that affect them, and makes recommendations to government and non-government groups on relevant legislation, reports and policies. ACYP is also tasked with conducting and monitoring research on issue affecting children and young people, and preparing a three-year strategic plan. The Advocate does not deal directly with the complaints of individual children and young people.
This group, which was Australia’s first charity, provides services for youth in the foster care system and adults interested in becoming foster parents. The group addresses mental health and education issues.
This organization provides services to disadvantaged children, youth and families in Sydney. It provides therapy and case management services to children and young people who have experienced sexual assault.
NSW Police Force
In addition to enforcing laws related to child sexual abuse with specialized task forces, the police department also provides detailed information for parents on internet safety, with specific sections on cyberbullying, dating scams, mobile phone security, and social media.
Office of the Children’s Guardian
This office’s mission is to protect children by promoting and regulating child safe organisations and services. Its child safe organisation trainings and policies promote risk-reduction, and the education and supervision of all staff about appropriate interactions with children.
Police Citizens Youth Clubs
This club works with youth to develop their skills, character and leadership, and to prevent crime. It operates more than 60 clubs and centres in NSW.
Safe and Well Online
This research project brings together University of South Australia, University of Western Sydney, Queensland University of Technology and Zuni to develop and evaluate an online social marketing framework to promote behavior changes towards cybersafety and wellness among young people.
Youth Action and Policy Association NSW
This group is the main organizational body for young people and youth services in the state. It responds to social and political agendas regarding young people, aims to shape the agenda on issue affecting young people, collaborates on issues affecting youth, and fosters young people’s ability to advocate for themselves, among other missions.
Youth Advisory Council
The Youth Advisory Council is made up of 12 council members under 25 years old, who advise the NSW government on issues of importance to young people. It also monitors and evaluates youth-related policies and legislation.
Inquiry Into the Sexualisation of Children and Young People (2016)I. Delahunty, K. Harris
This policy paper offers recommendations for mitigating issues related to child and youth sexualisation, and provides an overview of topics such as sexting, cyberbullying and pornography.
Gender, Education and the Perceived Causes, Nature and Extent of Domestic and Dating Violence in Australian Society (2015)J. Cale, J. Breckenridge
This study found that overall, young Australian adults did not typically hold views supporting gender stereotypes and violence, but depending on the gender and current educational status of respondents different patterns emerged among those who did have views supoorting stereotypes and violence.
Gender, Age and the Perceived Causes, Nature and Extent of Domestic and Dating Violence in Australian Society (2015)J. Cale, J. Breckenridge
This study examined the perceptions and attitudes of young Australian adults toward domestic violence and dating violence, finding that respondents did not typically hold views supporting gender stereotypes and violence.
The Digital Education Revolution: New South Wales Science Teachers' Response to Laptop Ubiquity (2012)W. Nielsen, A. Miller, G.F. Hoban
This study uses a lens of cultural historical activity theory to explore how teachers have responded to the ubiquitous presence of student laptop computers during the initial implementation of a NSW education program.
Accessible Communications: Tapping the Potential in Public ICT Procurement Policy (2012)W.J. Tibben, G. Astbrink
This paper explores how government procurement policy can have positive implications for many consumers with disability, providing greater access to the digital economy of the 21st Century
New Voices, New Laws: School-Age Young People in NSW Speak Out about the Criminal Laws that Apply to their Online Behaviour (2012)K. Tallon, A. Choi, M. Keeley, J. Elliott, D. Maher
This report provides a children’s rights-based analysis and evaluation of the current criminal laws that can apply to peer-to-peer sexting and cyber bullying among young people in New South Wales.
Community Technology Centres in Regional New South Wales: A Knowledge Based Analysis of ICT Enabled Development (2010)W.J. Tibben
This research uses a major government Community Technology Centres program in New South Wales, called the NSW CTC Program, to address questions that relate to the effectiveness of CTCs in addressing social needs and in the generation of sufficient income to support their ongoing operations.
A Communications Policy Perspective on CTC Sustainability in Regional Australia: Normative Assumptions, Commercial Viability and Social Good (2009)W.J. Tibben
This paper investigates the influence of the normative assumptions that can be associated with the Community Technology Centers (CTCs) scheme in NSW during the period 2000-2005 (CTC@NSW).
New South Wales Primary School Teachers' Perceptions of the Role of ICT in the Primary Science Curriculum – A Rural and Regional Perspective (2007)N. Taylor, G. Corrigan
This study, based on interviews with primary school teachers, found that despite considerable political pressure to increase ICT use in the classroom, most teachers were frustrated at the lack of in-service training available to them.
Digital Divides in New South Wales: A Research Note on Socio-spatial Inequality Using 2001 Census Data on Computer and Internet Technology (2003)C. Gibson
This paper examines social and spatial inequalities in personal usage of information technologies, drawing on data from Australia's 2001 national census.
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 for sexual intercourse in New South Wales is defined by Section 66C of the Crimes Act 1990 as being 16 years of age.
- Child Protection (Working with Children) Regulation 2013. This act defines child-related work as work in a specific, child-related role or face-to-face contact with children in a child-related sector. People working in this field in NSW are required to undergo a Working with Children check. Authorised carers, school employees, home-based education and care service providers, family day care service providers and potential adoptive parents must also undergo the check. The check looks for criminal history, findings of misconduct and notifications by the Ombudsman, and ongoing monitoring.
- Child Protection (Offenders Prohibition Orders) Act 2004. The act gives local courts the authority to make orders restricting the conduct of registered sex offenders if there is reasonable cause to believe the person poses a risk to the lives or sexual safety of one or more children and making the order will reduce that risk.
- Section 61I, Crimes Act. Sexual assault. States that having sexual intercourse with another person, knowing that the person does not give their consent, is deemed to be sexual assault and carries a penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment.
- Section 61J, Crimes Act. Aggravated sexual assault. States that anyone who commits this offense is liable to imprisonment for 20 years. Some of the definitions of aggravating circumstances which would render the offender liable to be prosecuted under this section include: intentionally or recklessly inflicting bodily harm on the victim; threatening to do the same with the use of an offensive weapon; the offender being in the company of another person or persons at the time of the offense; where the victim is under the age of 16; where the offender is in a position of authority over the victim or where the victim has a mental or physical disability.
- Section 61K, Crimes Act. Assault with intent to have sexual intercourse. Defines the offense as being when someone, with the intent to have sexual intercourse with the victim, inflicts actual bodily harm on that person, or threatens to do so by the use of an offensive weapon. The penalty for this offense is imprisonment for 20 years.
- Section 61L, Crimes Act. Indecent assault. States that any person who assaults another person and immediately before or after the offense commits an act of indecency commits this crime, which is punishable by five years’ imprisonment.
- Section 61M, Crimes Act. Aggravated indecent assault. States that the penalty for this offense is seven years’ imprisonment and defines aggravating circumstances as being: where the offender is in the company of another person or persons; the offender is in a position of authority over the victim or where the victim has a mental or physical disability. The sentence is increased to 10 years’ imprisonment if the victim is under the age of 16.
- Section 61N, Crimes Act. Act of indecency. Defines the crime as committing an act of indecency with someone under the age of 16, or inciting that person to commit an act of indecency with the offender or another person. This offense is punishable by two years’ imprisonment. Where the same offense is committed against a victim over the age of 16, the penalty decreases to 18 months’ imprisonment.
- Section 61O, Crimes Act. Aggravated act of indecency. States that anyone who commits an aggravated act of indecency against a person under the age of 16 (or incites the victim to commit such an act with them or another person) is liable to imprisonment for five years. Where the same crime is committed against someone over the age of 16, the penalty decreases to three years’ imprisonment. Where the same crime is committed against a victim under the age of ten, the penalty increases to seven years’ imprisonment. If this offense is committed against a victim under the age of 16 and the offender knows that the acts are being filmed for the purposes of child abuse material, the penalty is increased to a maximum of 10 years’ imprisonment.
- Section 66A, Crimes Act. Sexual intercourse - child under 10. This section defines the offense of having sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment. Section 66B, Crimes Act. Attempting, or assaulting with intent, to have sexual intercourse with child under 10. This section states that anyone who attempts to have sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10, or who assaults the child with the intent to engage in sexual intercourse with them will be imprisoned for 25 years.
- Section 66C, Crimes Act. Sexual intercourse - child between 10 and 16. This section states that anyone who has sexual intercourse with a child who is aged between 10 and 14 will face imprisonment for 16 years. Where the same offense is committed under aggravating circumstances the sentence increases to 20 years’ imprisonment. Where the offense is committed against a child who is aged between 14 and 16, the sentence is 10 years’ imprisonment, rising to 12 years’ imprisonment where aggravating circumstances apply.
- Section 66D, Crimes Act. Attempting, or assaulting with intent, to have sexual intercourse with child between 10 and 16. This section states that anyone who attempts to commit the offense of having sexual intercourse with a child aged between 10 and 16 will be subject to the same penalties as if the attempt was successful.
- Section 66EA, Crimes Act. Persistent sexual abuse of a child. States that anyone who engages in conduct deemed to be a sexual offense towards a particular child on at least three separate occasions is liable to imprisonment for 25 years. Only one offense needs to have been committed within New South Wales for this penalty to apply and it does not to be the same offense committed on at least three occasions, provided they are deemed to be sexual offenses. For the purposes of this section, ‘child’ refers to a person under the age of 18.
- Section 73, Crimes Act. Sexual intercourse with child between 16 and 18 under special care. States that anyone who has sexual intercourse with a person in their care who is 16 or older but has not yet reached 17 years of age is liable to imprisonment for eight years. Where the victim is aged of or above the age of 17 but is under 18 years of age the penalty is imprisonment for four years. Where an attempted offense is committed under this section it is punishable as though the attempt was successful.
- Section 80A, Crimes Act. Sexual assault by forced self-manipulation. Defines the offense as penetrating the vagina or anus of a person by an object manipulated by that person. Where the offender compels the victim to engage in self-manipulation by means of a threat which the victim could not be expected to resist, they will be punished by imprisonment for 14 years. Where the offense is committed under aggravating circumstances, the penalty rises to 20 years’ imprisonment. Aggravating circumstances include: where the offender is in the company of another person or persons; they intentionally inflict actual bodily harm on the victim during, immediately before or after the attack; where they threaten to cause actual bodily harm with the use of an offensive weapon; is in a position of authority over the victim; the victim is under the age of 16 or where the victim has a mental or physical disability.
- Section 87, Crimes Act. Child abduction. This section defines the crime as being when a person takes or detains a child with the intention of removing the child from the lawful care of anyone having parental responsibility for the child. The penalty for this crime is imprisonment for 10 years. For the purposes of this section, ‘child’ refers to a person under the age of 12.
- Section 91D, Crimes Act. Promoting or engaging in acts of child prostitution. States that any person who by any means causes or induces a child to engage in an act of child prostitution, or who participates with a child in an act of child prostitution, commits an offense which is punishable by imprisonment for 10 years. The penalty increases to 14 years’ imprisonment where the child is under the age of 14. The consent of a child is not a valid defense under this section.
- Section 91E, Crimes Act. Obtaining benefit from child prostitution. States that anyone who obtains money or another material benefit derived directly or indirectly from an act of child prostitution is liable to imprisonment for ten years. The penalty increases to 14 years where the child is under the age of 14.
- Section 91F, Crimes Act. Premises not to be used for child prostitution. States that anyone who exercises lawful control of any premises where an act of child prostitution occurs is liable to imprisonment for seven years. A person is not guilty of this offense if they prove they did not know about the act or did not know it was an act of child prostitution, or used all due diligence to prevent the child from participating in the act.
- Section 91FB, Crimes Act. Child abuse material - meaning. Defines ‘child abuse material’ as being offensive material which depicts or describes the following: a person who is, appears to be or is implied to be a child as a victim of torture, cruelty or physical abuse; a person who is, appears to be or is implied to be a child engaged in or apparently engaged in a sexual pose or sexual activity, regardless of whether another person is present; a person who is, appears to be or is implied to be a child engaged in a sexual pose or sexual activity in the presence of another person or shows the private parts of a person who is, appears to be or is implied to be a child. This includes images which have been altered or manipulated to make them appear to depict a child.
- Section 91G, Crimes Act. Children not to be used for production of child abuse material. Defines the crime of using a child under the age of 14 for the production of child abuse material. This also includes causing or procuring a child for the purpose of creating child abuse material or consenting for a child in one’s care to be used for this purpose. The maximum penalty for this offense is 14 years’ imprisonment. Where the child in question is over the age of 14, the maximum penalty is 10 years’ imprisonment.
- Section 91H, Crimes Act. Production, dissemination or possession of child abuse material. States that anyone who produces, disseminates or possesses child abuse material is guilty of an offense and is liable to imprisonment for a maximum of 10 years. This offense includes images which have been altered or manipulated for the purposes of making child abuse material.
- Section 91J, Crimes Act. Voyeurism. Defines the offense of observing a person who is engaged in a private act for the purposes of the offender’s sexual gratification where the offender knows that they do not have the consent of the person being observed for that purpose. The penalty for this offense is a fine of up to 100 penalty units, imprisonment for up to two years or both. Where the offense is committed under aggravating circumstances, the penalty increases to up to five years’ imprisonment. Among the aggravating circumstances given is where the victim is under 16 years of age. Attempts to commit this offense are punishable as though the attempt was successful.
- Section 91K, Crimes Act. Filming a person engaged in a private act. Defines the offense of filming a person who is engaged in a private act for the purposes of the offender’s sexual arousal or gratification where the offender knows that they do not have the consent of the person being filmed for that purpose. The penalty for this offense is a fine of up to 100 penalty units, imprisonment for up to two years or both. Where the offense is committed under aggravating circumstances, the penalty increases to up to five years’ imprisonment. Among the aggravating circumstances given is where the victim is under 16 years of age. Attempts to commit this offense are punishable as though the attempt was successful.
- Section 91L, Crimes Act. Filming a person’s private parts. Defines the offense of filming a person’s private parts for the purposes of the offender’s sexual gratification where the offender knows that they do not have the consent of the person being observed for that purpose and the victim would have a reasonable expectation that their private parts would not be filmed. The penalty for this offense is a fine of up to 100 penalty units, imprisonment for up to two years or both. Where the offense is committed under aggravating circumstances, the penalty increases to up to five years’ imprisonment. Among the aggravating circumstances given is where the victim is under 16 years of age. Attempts to commit this offense are punishable as though the attempt was successful.
- Section 91M, Crimes Act. Installing device to facilitate observation or filming. Defines the offense of a person installing a device which will enable them or another person to commit an offense under section 91J, 91K or 91L. The penalty for this offense is a fine of up to 100 penalty units, imprisonment for up to two years or both.
- Section 308C, Crimes Act. Unauthorised access, modification or impairment with intent to commit serious indictable offence. States that a person commits this offense if they cause any unauthorized computer function knowing it is unauthorized and with the intent of committing a serious indictable offense or facilitating the commission of such an offense.
- Section 308D, Crimes Act. Unauthorised modification of data with intent to cause impairment. States that a person is guilty of this crime if he/she causes any unauthorized modification of data held in a computer, knows the modification is unauthorized and intends by modification to impair access to, or impair the reliability, security or operation of data held in a computer , or is reckless to any such impairment. The maximum penalty is 10 years’ imprisonment.
- Section 308E, Crimes Act. Unauthorised impairment of electronic communication. A person who causes unauthorized impairment of electronic communication to or from a computer, knows the impairment is unauthorized and intends to does so recklessly is guilty of this offense. The maximum penalty is 10 years’ imprisonment.
1999 – The Child Exploitation Internet Unit was formed within the State Crime Command Child Protection and Sex Crimes Squad. The Unit is responsible for conducting investigations into persons using the internet to groom and procure children for sexual exploitation, and the production, dissemination and possession of child sexual exploitation facilitated by the internet. It coordinates the state police response to online child sexual exploitation cases and raises community awareness of safe internet usage as well.
2000 – The Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act was passed, requiring certain offenders to register with police and provide relevant personal information every year, reporting any changes within 14 days. This group of offenders includes those guilty of murder of a child, sexual intercourse with a child, indecency, grooming, kidnapping, sexual servitude, child prostitution, child pornography, voyeurism, or sexual acts with children. The court must determine that the person poses a risk to the lives or sexual safety of one or more children to impose a registration requirement. This act also established the Child Protection Register, to be maintained by the Commissioner of Police.
2007 – An amendment to the Crimes Act was passed, adding a measure against procuring or grooming children for sexual activity. Unlawful conduct under this law includes using the Internet, among other means, to procure or groom a child under 16 years old. Grooming for sexual purposes involves exposing the child to indecent material on one or more occasion, or providing the child with an intoxicating substance with the intention of making it easier to procure the child to engage in unlawful sexual activity. This offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years, increasing to a maximum sentence of 12 years’ imprisonment where the child is under the age of 14. When an adult intentionally meets a child whom they have groomed for sexual purposes, or travels with this intention, and intends to procure that child for sexual purposes, they commit an offense. This offense is punishable by imprisonment for up to 12 years, increasing to a maximum of 15 years’ imprisonment if the child is under the age of 14.