Parents will be reassured by its demand that internet service providers and companies such as Facebook provide the gardaí with IP (internet protocol) addresses when cyberbullying complaints are received.
With the welfare and even the lives of children at risk through suicide, disclosure of this data is vital in tackling anonymous internet bullying which can ruin a young person’s life. Besides recommending that the age of criminal responsibility be raised to 12, it wants victims of cyberbullying to be anonymous in the courts and new offences introduced of knowingly obtaining access to child porn and grooming children.
The sixth report from Geoffrey Shannon, the government-appointed Special Rapporteur on Child Protection, it typifies his excellent work on the protection of children in a country which afforded them little more than lip service before last year’s landmark referendum vote on strengthening a child’s constitutional rights. However, with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child yet to be fully implemented here, by giving force to the Shannon report the Coalition would be taking another significant step towards strengthening child law in Ireland.