The process of establishing the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner shows what can happen when we all play our part.
9 February 2016
From 1 July to 31 December 2015, the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner resolved 92 cyberbullying complaints, helped remove 4008 URLs containing child sexual abuse material, and provided online safety education to over 70 000 students, teachers and parents.
While the then Department of Communications was responsible for developing the legislation that would establish the Office, none of this would be possible without the hard work, open consultation and subject matter expertise from all parties involved in the process.
In early 2014, the Government publicly released its Enhancing Online Safety for Children discussion paper, inviting consultation on how to best support parents and teachers in protecting children online. More than 80 submissions were received in response to the paper, from an array of sources including community organisations, industry, education bodies, government bodies, legal bodies, academics and individuals.
A consortium of universities, led by the University of New South Wales Social Policy Research Centre, was also commissioned by the Government and contributed crucial evidence to the process. This evidence highlighted the prevalence and impact of cyberbullying in Australia.
Critical input also came from members of the Government’s Online Safety Consultative Working Group (OSCWG), which includes the National Children’s Commissioner, various industry groups, large social media services (including Facebook, Twitter and Google), child safety advocates and law enforcement officials.
The legislation received bipartisan support demonstrating the commitment of the Parliament to keeping Australian children safe online and the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act 2015 commenced on 1 July 2015.
In less than a year, the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner has already taken some important steps to making the internet a safer place for young people. This would not have been possible were it not for the groups, organisations and individuals who played their part, making such valuable contributions to the legislative process.
This Safer Internet Day, remember that we can all play our part for a better internet!