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Stop live-streaming of violent crimes and child abuse before it starts

Posted by CarlyRyanFoundation

Date posted:

Stop it before it's streamed approach needed for live-streaming of violent crimes and child abuse

A stop it before it's streamed approach should be taken to prevent the live-streaming of violent crimes - and child sexual abuse - according to harm-prevention charity The Carly Ryan Foundation.

The CRF's call comes after the Morrison Government announced it will legislate to penalise social media companies who fail to act to remove abhorrent violent material from their platforms.

CRF CEO Sonya Ryan said: "once the offending video is online it spreads like wildfire and while social media companies can work to remove the content, it's far too late". 

"We need to stop violent crimes and child sexual abuse from being live-streamed in the first place," she said.

"Once it is uploaded it can end up on platforms the originating social media platform does not control, and on the dark net."

Ms Ryan said while social media companies should be held to account, the CRF believes there needs to be a conversation about whether any one at all should be able to live-stream or whether only verified accounts should have this function.

"The government says the new laws will be modelled on existing offences in the Criminal Code which require platforms to notify police if their service is being used to access child exploitation material. Yet in reality these existing laws aren't even being used and ISPs are failing to report to police when their service is used to access child abuse material," she said.

"Thousands and thousands of children across the world - and in bedrooms throughout Australia - are being exploited through live-distant child abuse using social media platforms and it's up to police to uncover it.

"If Australia is truly going to crack down on the insidious uses of live-streaming then there must be a great emphasis on preventing the harm in the first place and stopping the streaming before it even starts.

"If the live-streaming function is limited to those who have been verified by a social media company that may do more to ensure harmful content isn't uploaded rather than financial penalties after the fact."

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