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Sonya Ryan

"The significance of my daughter's murder went beyond what I felt; Carly was the first victim of a violent crime that was perpetrated through the internet in Australia. It is now my duty to do whatever is necessary to help prevent such suffering for other innocent children."

Since Sonya founded The Carly Ryan Foundation in 2010, she has dedicated her life to the protection of children and ensuring their online experiences are positive and safe. This message is more important than ever as children across the globe are interacting with technology from earlier ages, often from infancy.

Having established the first charity in Australia to specialise in online safety education, Sonya brings with her a wealth of knowledge, practical experience and connection to appropriate resources. In her survivor ambassador role, Sonya speaks regularly to law enforcement agencies across the globe about the framework in which predators act, the resilience required to enact change and her inspirational story from immense suffering to a fulfilling future. 


Carly’s Law introduced into Australian Commonwealth Criminal Code (2017)

A stricter version of Carly’s Law introduced into South Australian Criminal Code (2018)

Contributed to a number of legislative initiatives that achieve greater protection for children, such as the Sentencing (Release on Licence) Amendment Act 2018 (SA) and Crimes Legislation Amendment (Sexual Crimes Against Children and Community Protection Measures) Act 2020 (Cth)

Successfully advocating for police funding, resourcing & technology within online child sexual exploitation units

The successful creation of Project Connect - A national online safety, healthy relationships and wellbeing education program

Speaking Experience

Over a decade of speaking to parents, students and teachers in school communities across Australia.

Delivering thousands of presentations to law enforcement agencies,  government departments and conferences globally, some examples below;

  • Speaker and expert panelist at The National Law Enforcement Training on Child Exploitation Conference in Atlanta USA (2023)
  • Speaker at Monash University for the AiLECS Event: Protecting our Future, Combating the surge of online child exploitation, Australia (2023)
  • Opening planary keynote speaker and workshop presenter at Dallas Crimes Against Children Conference, Dallas, United States (2022)
  • First Spouses Summit USA - Carly Ryan Foundation Initiative 'Not on our Watch Texas' USA (2021)
  • Keynote speaker for Project Rescue Children’s Australia’s Largest Lunch to End Child Trafficking, Australia (2020)
  • Speaker at the Embassy of the Netherlands/ ECPAT - Bangkok
  • Keynote speaker at Florida ICAC Conference - Orlando, Florida (2019)
  • Keynote Speaker at Trans-Tasman Online Safety Conference The Crossroads, New Zealand (2018)  
  • Keynote Speaker at the Interfaith Alliance for Safer Communities: Child Dignity in the Digital World Forum, United Arab Emirates (2018)
  • Opening speaker for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Online Crime Conference, Thialand 
  • Keynote Speaker at eSafety Conference Online Safety on The Edge, Australia (2017)
  • Presentation at Youth Technology and Virtual Communities Conference, Australia (2013, 2015, 2016, 2017)





ICAC Prevention Specialist Working Group, United States

Ending Online Sexual Exploitation and Abuse of Children (OSEAC) Coalition, United States

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) Prevention Education Working Group 

Australian eSafety Commissioner Online Safety Consultative Working Group and contributed to the establishment of the office of the eSafety Commissioner

Australian National Co-design Working Group (Attorney General's Dept)

Interfaith Alliance, Ministry of Interior, United Arab Emirates

WePROTECT Global Alliance



2021 Order of Australia Medal

2018 Fatima bint Mubarak Award for Motherhood and Childhood (Mother of the Nation Award), United Arab Emirates

2017 Human Rights Medal Finalist, Australian Human Rights Council, Australia

2013 South Australia Australian of the Year, Australia

Offering tailored seminars for corporate & community events or law enforcement agencies, the rare insight to the power of love and its limitless possibilities are shared in Sonya's uplifting one hour seminar.

Sonya speaks on a range of topics, including

  • her journey forming the Carly Ryan Foundation, from victim to survivor;
  • how she successfully advocated for the implementation of Carly's Law in Australia;
  • education, empowerment and information for the community seeking to protect children online.

Ms Ryan has led efforts for over a decade in Australia to make her home country one of the toughest on online crime and harms and an international leader in crime prevention.

If your organisation would be interested in engaging Sonya to speak at an event...