Full version of Carly’s Law signed off at state level

Sonya Ryan and the Attorney General Vickie Chapman

Sonya Ryan and the Attorney General Vickie Chapman

More than 11 years after her horrific murder, Carly Ryan has been enshrined in state legislation which aims to make sure no other child suffers her same fate. 

Carly was 15 years old when a 50-year-old predator posed as an 18-year-old musician to deceive her for 18 months via online and over-the-phone communication.

The pair met at Horseshoe Bay, and that is where the online predator murdered her.

The new legislation, which Carly’s mother Sonya has fought for for more than five years, makes it an offence for an adult to lie to a child about their age or who they are and then attempt to meet that child.

Ms Ryan, who also leads harm prevention charity The Carly Ryan Foundation, said these kind of actions ultimately led to Carly’s death, but police could not have intervened as they weren't a crime under state law.

"South Australia is now leading the way in legislating to protect children against online predators and the Carly Ryan Foundation will be advocating for other states and territories to follow suit," she said.

"I feel such a sense of relief knowing police in my home state now have an extra tool to arrest criminals who use the internet to deceive and lure children.”

Ms Ryan has been pushing for these laws at both a state and federal level, and was excited when a version of Carly’s Law was inserted in the federal government’s Commonwealth Criminal Code.

But in that version, police must be able to prove an offender had planned to harm a child. The new state law does not.

"I want Australia to be the safest place for a young person to connect online so they can fully embrace this technology to benefit their lives and seek out positive connections,” Ms Ryan said.

“Carly can rest in peace knowing that this new law named in her honour, will prevent what happened to her happening to another innocent child in the future.

"In her name I will continue to advocate for measures to help protect children and give them every opportunity to thrive in our communities."

Alleged offenders could be jailed for five years, with an extra five years added if authorities can prove there was also an intention to commit a crime against the child.