Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Minister for Communications

Minister for the Arts

Manager of Government Business in the Senate

eSafety office to help all Australians online

10 February 2017

The Turnbull Government today introduced new legislation to enhance online safety for all Australians.

The Enhancing Online Safety for Children Amendment Bill will rename the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, to broaden the general functions of the office to cover online safety for all Australians, not just children.

The Office’s role has expanded since its establishment, recognising that staff have a wealth of expertise in all areas of online safety which should be put to good use.

The expanded general functions will allow the Commissioner to carry out important work on the Government’s election commitments relating to online safety for women at risk of domestic violence, victims of non-consensual sharing of intimate images (commonly referred to as ‘revenge porn’) and for older Australians.

The legislation addresses feedback received by the Government that adult Australians may not be aware that they can contact the Commissioner for advice and assistance regarding illegal or offensive online content, online safety advice for women, or for general advice about how to manage technology risks and online safety.

Changing the name of the office will make it easier for the public to seek assistance and advice in relation to a range of online safety issues, irrespective of age.

The Commissioner currently operates a complaints scheme to remove harmful cyberbullying material on social media services which is targeted at, and harmful to, an Australian child. This scheme will continue to be solely focused on children.

Julie Inman Grant commenced the role of Children’s eSafety Commissioner in January 2017.

The Coalition Government’s achievements in online safety:

* Passed the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act 2015, which established the office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner;
* Established a complaints scheme to remove harmful cyberbullying material on social media services which is targeted at, and harmful to, an Australian child;
* Committed $2.1 million for the Commissioner to develop a resource package for people, particularly women and children, at high risk of experiencing domestic violence;
* Committed $4.8 million for the Commissioner to develop a national online reporting tool for non-consensual sharing of intimate images;
* Committed $50 million to improving digital literacy for older Australians, including a digital portal to provide a one-stop-shop for information, tools and training materials;
* Announced that it will conduct a public consultation process on a proposed civil penalties regime targeted at both perpetrators and sites which host intimate images and videos shared without consent.

Since its establishment, the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner has:

* Finalised more than 320 complaints about serious cyberbullying that targeted Australian children;
* Worked with 11 major social media service providers to counter cyberbullying;
* Certified 23 online safety program providers with more than 115 presenters delivering programs in Australian schools;
* Finalised more than 15,000 investigations into online content including over 9,000 investigations into online child sexual abuse content;
* Reached more than 92,000 students and teachers through its virtual classroom program;
* Had more than 3.3 million website page views;
* Made the iParent portal available to parents, providing advice on a range of online safety and digital content issues; and
* Launched the eSafetyWomen site with resources and advice for women, and provided training for more than 1,200 frontline professionals across every state and territory to help women experiencing technology-facilitated abuse.

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