In reference to a story recently published on news.com.au titled 'Students from 70 Australian schools targeted by sick pornography ring', please find attached a response from our Principal, Mr Brett Horton. This communication was emailed to all parents and staff earlier today (17 August).
Dear Parents, Caregivers, Staff and Students
I write regarding a story that was featured on news.com.au yesterday afternoon titled Students From 70 Australian Schools Targeted by Sick Pornography Ring. In the article Southern Cross Catholic College is among the schools named. The article, available on the link below, focused on a website which is hosted outside of Australia and its exploitation of women and girls through the posting of nude and semi-nude photographs, without the permission of the people involved. The tone of the article is one of disgust, rightfully highlighting the fact that this behaviour is unacceptable.
Early this morning I contacted the Redcliffe Child Protection Investigation Unit of the Queensland Police Service seeking advice and was informed that there is not a current investigation into this particular website in their office however the QPS taskforce dealing with online child exploitation is constantly monitoring and investigating these websites. As we have not been contacted by the authorities we do not know how many or indeed if any of our students may have been involved. Should we be contacted by authorities, we will work closely with our students and their families. Further we will be examining our network for breaches of protocol and our ICT Network Manager has made enquiries regarding our filters.
At the beginning of the school day I met with all students and staff of our Secondary Campus to discuss the article and specifically highlight the moral and legal implications of this behaviour. I discussed the intent of the website and the language used which is disturbing and depicts predatory, misogynistic and violent content. Further to this Mr Paul Begg and I explained some of the real life consequences of sharing these images which range from humiliation and distress through to legal implications including criminal charges. We also discussed respectful treatment of others, relationships and where to seek help if any student is impacted by this issue.
This article serves as a timely reminder to be vigilant about your son or daughter’s on-line activities and involvement with social media. Please talk with your son or daughter about their cyber footprint and safe social media interaction. The College has a cyber-citizenship program in place and we take our responsibility to educate our students in this area very seriously. We will continue to support our students’ wellbeing and will provide advice, support and counselling as necessary. An invitation has been extended to all students to seek out a trusted adult if this article and our conversation this morning has raised any anxiety.
If you require any additional resources in regards to cyber safety please click on the website links below, which have been designed by the Australian Government and the Department of Education and Training.
Should you have any concerns or wish to discuss this issue further, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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The Corporation of the Trustees of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane t/a
SOUTHERN CROSS CATHOLIC COLLEGE
307 Scarborough Road Scarborough QLD 4020
P 07 3480 3600 | F 07 3480 3666 | E firstname.lastname@example.org
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