2005 – The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development launched the AUS$90 million initiative VicSmart in October 2005, providing fiber optic broadband to all government schools over four years.
2009 – The government’s Netbook Project began supplying 10,000 Year 5 and 8 students from 340 schools with notebooks over a three year period. Participating families will lease the computers, with the option to purchase them in the final year. The aim is to make access to technology affordable for families in lower socioeconomic areas, so that no student will be left behind due to their social circumstances.
Also in 2009, the DET launched its ePotential ICT Capabilities Resource, developed for teachers to improve their ICT competencies and to show them how to incorporate ICT into their teaching and lesson planning. In addition to a planning tool, resource bank and reflections journal, the website also includes a continuum: an online tool assisting teachers to rate and develop their ICT capabilities. Multimedia resources such as videos showing best practice in classrooms and implementation models supports teachers’ development. Once a teacher has identified their competencies; advice, resources and work sampled tailored to their needs will support their professional development.
The same year, the online portal FUSE (Find, Use, Share Education) was created. It provides teachers with access to relevant, informative and high-quality teaching and learning educational resources from around the world. Teachers can search for websites, images, audio and video as well as other online resources, and share relevant resources with colleagues and students. In addition, educators can create their own online resources and collaborate with their work. Students of all age levels have access to an age-appropriate section of the site covering all core school subjects, providing links to various resources on the Internet.
2010 – The education department’s Ultranet IT project was originally rolled-out. The project aimed to streamline Victoria’s IT system in government-run schools. The system crashed on its first day of operation.
2011 – The Department of Education and Training invited schools to participate in the Innovating with Technology Games-Based Learning research trials. The program was an experiment in using digital games as a learning tool in schools. The Department ran trials of Serious Games, Virtual Worlds and Game Development in 40 schools.
2012 – An audit was completed on learning technologies in government schools. According to the report, the Department’s Digital Learning Statement did not provide a clear action plan for investing in learning technology, leaving school leaders with little guidance on integrating ICT. The report found that Ultranet, the Statement’s key component was poorly planned and implemented, not meeting its expectations. One successful part of the plan was VicSmart, which effectively delivered high-speed broadband internet to schools, enabling future developments.
2013 – The Ultranet project, which cost about $240 million, was abandoned after ongoing technical issues throughout its implementation. Victoria’s Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission then launched an investigation into corruption in the education department regarding the failed project. Senior education department bureaucrats bought shares in the Ultranet contractor, CSG Limited, before it was announced the winner of the contract in 2009. Additionally, two education department workers were given executive jobs at CSG.
2014 – The Premier of Victoria pledged to create 10 Tech Schools across the state. The new schools are to begin opening during the 2017-2018 school year, and will be high-tech learning centres geared toward preparing young Victorians for the global economy. Tech schools will be shared learning environments, managed and operated by a partnership of local schools, local government, TAFE, university and industry partners.
2016 – Schools have until August 2016 to implement the DET’s Child Safe Standards. The standards include the following required components: (1) strategies to embed a culture of child safety, including through effective leadership arrangements; (2) a child safe policy or statement of commitment to child safety; (3) a code of conduct that establishes clear expectations for appropriate behaviour with children; (4) screening, supervision, training and other human resources practices that reduce the risk of child abuse by new and existing personnel; (5) processes for responding to and reporting suspected child abuse; (6) strategies to identify and reduce or remove risks of child abuse; and (7) strategies to promote the participation and empowerment of children.
This Anglican organization provides services to children, young people and families, with focus areas on relationships, parenting and education.
AusVELS is the Foundation through Year 10 curriculum for Victoria. It includes interdisciplinary learning topics such as Information and Communications Technology, and Design, Creativity and Technology.
This organization works with children, youth and families with complex needs. It provides access to therapy, mentoring, family violence resources and information on the foster care system.
Better Health Channel
The Healthy Living section of this government website provides information for parents on sex education. Information is available on discussing sexuality with preschoolers, primary school children and young people.
This Department of Education and Training program supports students, parents, teachers and principals working together to ensure safe, supportive schools. Its website provides informative guides on cyberbullying and cybersafety, quizzes for students by grade level, among other resources, and information on sexting, inappropriate content, online grooming and social media.
Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare
The Centre provides a breadth of child and family services throughout Victoria. It provides public policy and program advice, professional training and research, and advocates for improved access to support services for children and families.
Commission for Children and Young People
The Commission focuses on implementing and improving policies and practices for the wellbeing and safety of children and young people. It also focuses on bettering out of home care services for children. The Commission was formed by legislation in 2012.
This website is geared towards teachers and school administrators, providing information on topics like using iPads in the classroom, implementing a digital technology curriculum, and using Microsoft for education.
The Gatehouse Centre is a department of the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne that functions as a Centre Against Sexual Assault. It provides assessment, treatment and advocacy services for children, young people and their families living in the Melbourne area, where sexual abuse, or problem sexual or sexually abusive behaviors, are occurring or are suspected.
This online platform enables schools to set up student, class, teacher or school blogs. It includes online safety advice and privacy advice for participants in the blogging program.
Office of the Commissioner for Privacy and Data Protection’s Youth Advisory Group (CPDP YAG)
CPDP established YAG in 2015 to assist in the office’s engagement with children and young people in Victoria. It helps identify and address the specific privacy and data protection needs of children and adults by providing feedback and input from a group of young Victorians between the ages of 15 and 24.
This website is geared toward young people and deals with the topics of sexual assault, family violence and relationships. Information is available on the emotional and physical effects of sexual abuse, and a helpline phone number is prominently displayed.
Sexual Offences and Child Abuse Investigation Teams (SOCITs)
These teams within the Victoria Police are made up of specialized detectives who investigate child abuse and sexual assault cases. SOCITs work on cases throughout the entire process, so that victims do not have to continuously retell their experiences with abuse.
Victorian Children's Council
The Council advises the government on meeting the challenges facing Victorian families. It aims to improve the health, well-being, development and safety of children, particularly those who are most vulnerable.
The police department’s website provides information for parents on child online safety, including precautionary steps to take, risk factors and advice to give to children.
Victoria Police Youth Corps (VPYC)
VPYC operates in government schools, offering students in Years 9-10 the opportunity to participate in a two-year school based program in partnership with Victoria Police.
Victoria Police Youth Leadership Program
This program aims to bolster youth engagement with police and community leaders, and help them become leaders in their own communities.
Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVIC)
YACVIC is a leading policy advocate for youth issues in Victoria, aiming to create a community in which all young people are valued as active participants, have their rights respected and get fair, respectful treatment.
This website provides information for young people on online safety, including cyberbullying, sexting, privacy, scams and netiquette. It also provides information on sexuality, relationships, youth rights and sexual assault, among other topics.
Are We Ready for BYOD?: A Systematic Review of the Implementation and Communication of BYOD Programs In Australian Schools (2015)K.C. Janssen, S. Phillipson
This systematic review explores the extent of BYOD implementation in Victorian secondary schools and identifies the type of information provided to parents and the school community on their websites.
Blurred Lines? Responding to ‘Sexting’ and Gender-based Violence among Young People (2014)A. Powell, N. Henry
This article argues that the non-consensual creation and distribution of sexual images has largely been framed as a problem of youth naiveté, with the effect of censuring young women's ‘risky’ sexual behaviour, and leaving unproblematised gender-based violence.
Prevalence, Correlates and Attitudes Towards Sexting Among Young People in Melbourne, Australia (2014)T.H. Yeung, D.R. Horyniak, A.M. Vella, M.E. Hellard, M.S.C. Lim
This study's findings highlight the distinction in young people’s minds between consensual sexting and the nonconsensual sharing or circulation of sexts, which is not currently well recognised in sexuality education, the media or the law.
Betrayal of Trust: Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious and Other Non Government Organisations (2013)Family and Community Development Committee
This two-part report inquires into responses to criminal child abuse by all non-government organisations that interact directly with children.
Establishing an Online Community of Inquiry at the Distance Education Centre, Victoria (2013)L.C. Jacksona, A.C. Jacksonb, D. Chambersb
This pilot intervention focused on three courses that were redesigned to utilize the online environment to establish an online community of inquiry in Victoria.
Patterns of Digital Game-play in Australian High School Students (2012)S. Muspratt, T.H. Apperley
This paper examines the varieties of digital play practices among students in two high schools in Victoria, Australia, in order to get a situated understanding of the patterns of youths' out-of-school gaming practices, and the role the respondents perceived these practices have in their lives.
The Victorian Government Digital Innovation Review, Part B: The Digital Readiness of Victorian Citizens (2012)C. Thomler
This report to the Department of Business and Innovation found that the majority of Victorians have adopted digital technology, but inequalities in access persist.
Sociality Online: An Exploratory Study into the Online Habits of Young Australians (2011)C. Waite
This paper presents research findings and offers insight into youth Internet use from the perspective of young people.
Assessment in Online Learning Environments (2011)Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
This paper discusses the importance of teachers providing feedback to students as well as creating situations for teachers to receive feedback on their teaching as a way of influencing learning and achievement in online learning environments.
The Prevalence of Childhood Sexual Abuse and Adolescent Unwanted Sexual Contact Among Boys and Girls Living in Victoria, Australia (2010)E.E. Moorea, H. Romaniuka, C.A. Olssona, Y. Jayasinghea, J.B. Carlina, G.C. Patton
This study found a high prevalence of childhood sexual abuse and unwanted sexual contact among girls and boys in Victoria.
Protecting the Safety and Wellbeing of Children and Young People (2010)Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Department of Human Services
This report defines the roles and responsibilities of the Department of Human Services Child Protection, Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, licensed children’s services and Victorian schools in working together to protect children and young people from abuse and neglect.
Sticks and Stones and Mobile Phones: Bullying in the New Millenium (2009)Youth Affairs Council Victoria
The report captures the expert advice of presenters and group discussions on the various forms of bullying experienced by young people.
Rural Youth and Multimedia: An Interagency Approach (2007)S. Brumby, R. Eversole, K. Scholfield, L. Watt
This paper reflects on a multimedia initiative for rural youth in western Victoria.
Forming New ICT Industry Clusters in Victoria (2006)W.P. Hall
This paper explains the "industry cluster" concept, reviews the current state of incipient local ICT clusters, points to some case studies where companies have benefited, and suggests practical actions that local organisations may take to encourage and exploit cluster development activities.
Public Libraries in Victoria, Australia: An Overview of Current ICT Developments, Challenges, and Issues (2004)B. Fitzgerald, F. Savage
This article explores the impact of ICT on public libraries in Victoria, Australia, as they become increasingly reliant on it to manage, access and deliver information services.
In The Spotlight: Young People and the Media (2003)Youth Affairs Council Victoria
This paper focuses on YACVIC's work on issues related to young people and the media.
Young People and Public Internet Access: A Qualitative Study of Barriers, Opportunities and Attitudes (2002)A. Chia
This report examines some of the barriers disadvantaged young people face in accessing computers and the internet.
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 activity in Victoria is 16 years old.
- Working with Children Act 2005. This act establishes the Working with Children Check, a measure to protect children from sexual and physical abuse by screening individuals who intend to work with or care for children. People who pose an unjustifiable risk to children’s safety will fail the Check and be prohibited from working with children. The act defines the types of jobs that qualify as child-related work.
- Child Wellbeing and Safety Act 2005. This act enumerates principles for the wellbeing of children, establishes the Victorian Children’s Council, establishes the Children’s Services Coordination Board, and provides for the the Child Safety Commissioner and confers functions and powers on the Commissioner in relation to children’s safety. Under this act, services for children and families should (a) readily identify harm to children and provide for intervention; (b) be made accessible based on the needs of each community’s culture; (c) prioritize providing appropriate amounts of assistance to children and families in the neediest communities; and (d) promote the continuous improvement of services. Additionally, providers of these services should (a) protect the rights of children and families, and encourage their participation in decisionmaking; (b) acknowledge the child’s individual identity, circumstances and culture; (c) make decisions about interventions while keeping in mind the risk of negative effects that could be caused by a delay; (d) ensure families are aware of available services; and (e) cooperate with other entities to work in the interest of children and families.
- Section 41DA, Summary Offences Act. Distribution of intimate image. A person commits an offence if he/she intentionally distributes an intimate image of another person to a third person when the distribution of the image is contrary to community standards of acceptable conduct.
- Section 41DB, Summary Offences Act. Threat to distribute intimate image. A person commits an offence if he/she (a) makes a threat to another person to distribute an intimate image of the person to a third person; (b) the distribution of the image would be contrary to community standards of acceptable conduct; and (c) the person intends that the second person will believe that he/she will carry out the threat.
- Section 45, Crimes Act. Sexual penetration of child under the age of 16. This section states the offense of taking part in an act of sexual penetration with a child under 16. A person guilty of an offense is liable to a maximum sentence of 25 years’ imprisonment if the child was under 12 years old, or a maximum sentence of 15 years’ imprisonment if the child was between 12 and 16 years old and under the care or supervision of the accused. In any other case of sexual penetration of a child between 12 and 16, the maximum sentence is 10 years’ imprisonment.
- Section 47, Crimes Act. Indecent act with child under the age of 16. A person who wilfully commits or is wilfully a party to the commission of an indecent act with, or in the presence of, a child under 16 is guilty of this offense. The maximum sentence is 10 years’ imprisonment. Consent is not a defense to the charge, unless at the time of the offense the accused believed on reasonable grounds that the child was 16 or older, the accused was no more than two years older than the child, or the accused believed on reasonable grounds that he/she was married to the child.
- Section 47A, Crimes Act. Persistent sexual abuse of child under the age of 16. This section defines the offense of persistently sexually abusing a child under 16. To prove an offense, it is necessary to prove that the accused did an act in relation to the child that would merit an offense during a particular period when the child was under 16, and the act was an offense under this subdivision or took place between the accused and the child on at least two other occasions during that period. A person guilty of this offense is liable to a prison sentence of at most 25 years.
- Section 48, Crimes Act. Sexual penetration of 16 or 17 year old child. This section states that a person must not take part in an act of sexual penetration with a 16 or 17 year old to whom he or she is not married, and who is under his/her care, supervision or authority. The maximum penalty is 10 years’ imprisonment. Consent is not a defense to this charge unless the accused proves that he/she believed on reasonable grounds that the child was 18 or older, or he/she was married to the child. For the purposes of this law, a child is under a person’s care, supervision or authority if the person is the the child’s teacher, foster parent, legal guardian, minister, employer, youth worker, sports coach, counselor, health professional or a police officer, though this list is not all-inclusive.
- Section 49, Crimes Act. Indecent act with 16 or 17 year old child. This section states that a person cannot wilfully commit or wilfully be in any way a party to the commission of an indecent act with or in the presence of a 16 or 17 year old child to whom he/she is not married and who is under his/her care, supervision or authority. This is punishable by a prison sentence not to exceed five years. Consent is not a defense to this charge unless the accused proves that he/she believed on reasonable grounds that the child was 18 or older, or he/she was married to the child. For the purposes of this law, a child is under a person’s care, supervision or authority if the person is the the child’s teacher, foster parent, legal guardian, minister, employer, youth worker, sports coach, counselor, health professional or a police officer, though this list is not all-inclusive.
- Section 49A, Crimes Act. Facilitating sexual offences against children. A person is guilty of this offense if they make travel arrangements for another person or does or omits to do any other act that aids, facilitates or contributes to the commission of a sexual offense against a child. He/she must either intend to aid in the commission of the offense or be reckless to aiding in the commission of the offense.
- Section 49C, Crimes Act. Failure by person in authority to protect child from sexual offence. A person commits this offense when a person working for a relevant organization has the power or responsibility to reduce or remove a substantial risk that a child will become the victim of a sexual offense committed by a person over 18 years old associated with the same organization, and knows that there is a substantial risk that person will commit a sexual offense against the child, but fails to reduce or remove that risk. Such an offense is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment. It is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that a sexual offense was committed. Relevant organizations include churches, schools, education and care services, children’s services, out of home care services, hospitals, government departments and sporting organizations, among others.
- Section 56, Crimes Act. Abduction of child under the age of 16. This section states that a person must not take away a child under the age of 16 against the will of a person who has lawful charge of the child, with the intention that the child should take part in an act of sexual penetration outside of marriage. This offense is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.
- Section 58, Crimes Act. Procuring sexual penetration of a child. This section states that a person 18 or older must not solicit or procure a child under 16 to take part in an act of sexual penetration or an indecent act outside of marriage. A person aged 18 or older must not procure a 16 or 17 year old child to whom he/she is not married and who is under his/her care, supervision or authority to take part in an act of sexual penetration, or an indecent act. Either offense is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
- Section 63, Crimes Act. Child stealing. This section states that whoever unlawfully leads or takes away, decoys or entices away, or detains a child under 16 years old with the intent to take them away from the person in lawful care of the child, or to any article on the child’s person, and who receives or harbors any such child is guilty of this offense. This is punishable by up to five years’ imprisonment.
- Section 68, Crimes Act. Production of child pornography. A person who prints, makes or produces child pornography is guilty of an offense punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment. It is a defense to prove that a film, photograph in a publication, or computer game was classified other than RC or X or X 18+ at the time of publication, or would be classified other than these ratings if classified.
- Section 69. Crimes Act. Procurement etc. of minor for child pornography. A person who (a) invites a minor to be involved in the making or production of child pornography; (b) procures a minor for the purpose of making or producing child pornography; (c) causes a minor to be involved in the making or production of child pornography; or (d) offers a minor to be involved in the making or production of child pornography is guilty of this offense. This is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment. It is a defense to prove that a film, photograph in a publication, or computer game was classified other than RC or X or X 18+ at the time of publication, or would be classified other than these ratings if classified.
- Section 70, Crimes Act. Possession of child pornography. A person who knowingly possesses child pornography is guilty of an offense, and is liable to up to 10 years’ imprisonment. It is a defense to prove that a film, photograph in a publication, or computer game was classified other than RC or X or X 18+ at the time of publication, or would be classified other than these ratings if classified. It is also a defense that the film, photograph, publication or computer game possesses artistic merit or is for a genuine medical, legal, scientific or educational purpose; that the accused believed on reasonable grounds that the minor was aged 18 years or older or that he or she was married to the minor; or that the accused made the film or took the photograph or was given the film or photograph by the minor and that, at the time of making, taking or being given the film or photograph, the accused was not more than 2 years older than the minor was or appeared to be; or that the minor or one of the minors depicted in the film or photograph is the accused. However, the defence of artistic merit cannot be relied on in a case where the prosecution proves that the minor was actually under the age of 18 years.
- Section 70AC, Crimes Act. Sexual performance involving a minor. A person is guilty of this offense if he/she does any of the following in circumstances where there is payment or reward to the minor or to any other person in respect of the performance: (a) invites a minor to be in any way concerned in a sexual performance; (b) procures a minor to be in any way concerned in a sexual performance; (c) causes a minor to be in any way concerned in a sexual performance; or (d) offers a minor to be in any way concerned in a sexual performance. This offense is punishable by up to 10 years’ imprisonment.
- Section 327, Crimes Act. Failure to disclose sexual offence committed against child under the age of 16 years. A person 18 or older who has information that leads them to form a reasonable belief that a sexual offense has been committed in Victoria against a child by a person 18 or older must disclose that information to a police officer as soon as possible. Failure to do so makes the person liable to three years’ imprisonment. However, a person has a reasonable excuse not to if the person reasonably fears for the safety of any person (other than the person reasonably believed to have committed, or to have been involved in, the sexual offence) if the person to disclose the information to police and the failure to disclose the information to police is a reasonable response in the circumstances; or the person believes on reasonable grounds that the information has already been disclosed to police by another person and has no further information. A person does not violate the reporting requirements if the information forming the basis of the person’s belief that a sexual offense was committed came from the victim of the alleged offense; the victim was 16 or older at the time of providing information to any person; and the victim requested the information not be disclosed. Additionally, the reporting requirement is not violated if the person comes into possession of the information when a child, the information referred to would be privileged under the Evidence Act 2008, the information referred to is confidential communication under the Evidence (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1958, the person comes into possession of the information through the public domain, the person is a police officer acting in his/her course of duty, or the victim became 16 years old before the Crimes Amendment (Protection of Children) Act 2014 took effect.
2014 – The law that prohibits grooming children under 16 years old for sexual conduct was updated. Under this law, a person 18 or older must not communicate, including electronic communication with a child under 16 years old or a person under his/her care, supervision or authority with intent to facilitate the child’s engagement in or involvement in a sexual offense with that person or another person who is 18 or older. An offender is liable to imprisonment not to exceed 10 years.
2015 – The offense of administering a child pornography website was added to the Crimes Act. This section states that a person commits this offense if he/she administers, or assists in the administration of a website, which is used by another person to deal with child pornography, or (a) intends that the website be used by another person for child pornography; or (b) is aware that the website is being used by another person for child pornography.
A law that prohibits encouraging the use of a website to deal with child pornography was added the same year. A person over 18 years old commits this offense if he/she encourages another person to use a website and intends that the other person uses the website to deal with child pornography. A person who commits this offense is liable to up to 10 years’ imprisonment.