Children’s eSafety Commissioner to look after all ages

Julie Inman Grant is the Children’s eSafety Commissioner.

The Federal Government will rename the Children’s eSafety Commissioner just the eSafety Commissioner, entrusting the office to “enhance online safety for all Australians and provide clarity for reporting online safety issues”.

The changes allow the eSafety Commissioner to be tasked with improving the digital confidence and skills of senior citizens as well, and to establish a national online complaints mechanism where victims can report cases of intimate photos or videos being posted without consent (image-based abuse) and access support.

The changes will make it easier for the public to identify where they can seek assistance and advice on a range of online safety issues. The amendments only relate to the general functions of the commissioner and do not relate to the cyberbullying complaints scheme, which addresses material that is targeted at children.

Prior to the last election, the Liberals promised to spend $50 million to improve the digital literacy of seniors and improve their safety online, by developing a digital inclusion and online safety strategy for them.

The digital literacy strategy’s aim is to complement existing programs and draw on the expertise and knowledge of the community sector to develop an appropriate package of support to improve the digital literacy and safety of seniors online.

It targets seniors who have access to existing devices and aims to support them to learn how to take full advantage to keep in touch and stay connected, without exposing themselves to online abuse.

The government had also promised to spend $10 million on:

  • Establishing a national online complaints mechanism where victims can report cases of intimate photos or videos being posted without consent (‘revenge porn’) and access immediate and tangible support.
  • Countering the impact of pornography in society with targeted information and educational resources to shift attitudes and behaviours in young people.
  • Identifying gaps in, and impediments to, information sharing about victims and perpetrators of domestic, family and sexual violence between jurisdictions.
  • Strengthening research and data collection around the forms of violence experienced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.

These initiatives will now also fall under the authority of the eSafety Commissioner.

Feedback sought

In addition, the government is currently seeking feedback on implementing civil penalties for the non-consensual sharing of intimate images (‘revenge porn’).

Submissions can be made through the Department of Communications and the Arts’ ‘Have your say’ website.

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