New eSafety Commissioner appointed in expanded role to combat non-consensual sharing of intimate images
23 November 2016
JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
Senator The Hon Mitch Fifield, Minister For Communications
Senator The Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister For Women
The Turnbull Government today announced the appointment of a new Children's eSafety Commissioner with expanded responsibilities to take a lead role in combatting the non-consensual sharing of intimate images (commonly referred to as ‘revenge porn').
Online safety expert Julie Inman Grant has been announced as the new Children's eSafety Commissioner, and will commence in January.
"The appointment of Julie Inman Grant is an important milestone in the work of the Turnbull Government to help keep Australians safe online,” said the Minister for Communications Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield.
The Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner will also be renamed the Office of the eSafety Commissioner, reflecting the office's expanded responsibility for online safety issues affecting adults.
As part of a comprehensive range of measures to combat the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, the Office of the eSafety Commissioner will develop a new online reporting tool which will allow victims to report incidents as well as access immediate and tangible support.
“This is about empowering women to take control online. The expanded role for the eSafety Commissioner will help women manage technology risks and abuse, and give women the tools they need to be confident when online,” said the Minister for Women Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash.
The Turnbull Government will also 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.
A discussion paper will be released in early 2017 and feedback will be sought from the eSafety Commissioner, Federal and State police, women's safety organisations, mental health experts, schools and education departments, the Online Safety Consultative Working Group and others.
In parallel, the Commonwealth Government is working with states and territories through COAG to support a nationally consistent approach to criminal offences relating to the non-consensual sharing of intimate images.
Importantly, the Commissioner's existing legislated powers regarding cyberbullying material targeted at an Australian child will remain solely focussed on children, while the Office's work regarding online safety for adults will be centred around advice and online reporting.
Minister Fifield paid tribute to the hard work and dedication of acting Children's eSafety Commissioner Andree Wright and former Commissioner Alastair MacGibbon. Under the leadership of Ms Wright and Mr MacGibbon the Office has already provided assistance to victims of non-consensual sharing of intimate images in cooperation with police and other relevant agencies.
For a range of online safety resources and advice for those who may have experienced non-consensual sharing of intimate images, visit www.esafety.gov.au.
About Julie Inman Grant
Ms Inman Grant has worked at the intersection of technology, public policy and online safety for the past 25 years. From helping shape the first Online Safety Summit for Children in 1996 to playing an important role in the development of the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act of 2015, she brings a unique and deep wealth of experience in online safety policy.
Ms Inman Grant has been an active participant in the Online Safety Consultative Working Group, which is chaired by the Children's eSafety Commissioner, and has worked with Australian law enforcement to roll out programs like ThinkUKnow, the Child Exploitation Tracking System (CETS) and Computer Facilitated Crimes Against Children training.
Whilst at Twitter, Ms Inman Grant created the Twitter Rules & Tools and developed the #PositionofStrength safety and empowerment program for women in Australia, which were adopted by the company globally as flagship education and awareness programmes.