Online Safety Policy

Online Safety Policy

Purpose of policy

The purpose of this policy is to outline and provide a general guide on mitigating:


The following definitions apply to this policy and procedure:

Online Grooming Online Grooming is where an individual, through words and actions, attempts to lower another individual's (often a child or younger person) inhibitions regarding sexual activity by identifying with another person's interests, making them the focus of their attention, and in particular making the recipient of their attention believe that they are their 'special friend'.

Online chat rooms and/or social networking sites are a particular target.

Various jurisdictions around Australia have or are in the process of introducing or strengthening laws on this issue e.g. Crimes Amendment (Grooming) Act 2014 in Victoria.

The Act amends the Crimes Act 1958 by inserting a new offence of grooming for sexual conduct with a child under the age of 16 years and makes consequential amendments to other Acts.

New section 49B(2) provides that a person of or over the age of 18 must not communicate by words or conduct with a child under the age of 16, or a person under whose care, supervision or authority the child is, with the intention of facilitating the child's engagement or involvement in a sexual offence with that person or another adult. It is not necessary that the child respond to the communication. A maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment applies to this offence.

Scamming Scamming is a fraud or a swindle. Increasingly, it is used to describe a fraud originating through a communication channel e.g. phone or the internet. Scamming is very common. For example, in 2012 Curtin University Business School undertook a national survey project to investigate the prevalence of scams committed against small businesses in Australia. Of the 192 small business survey participants, more than 70 per cent may have wasted time and/or money thwarting a scam attempt, 12 per cent lost money to a scam. The research also indicated that the more online activity and e-commerce a firm undertakes, the higher losses are likely to be.

Dating/relationship scams, often run by experienced criminal networks, involve the development of a strong relationship with the victim, often over weeks or months, before asking for money to help cover costs associated with illness, injury, a family crisis or to travel to see them. This scam type commonly involves the scammer trying to exploit their victim's emotions. Dating/relationships scammers often approach their victims on legitimate websites and then quickly attempt to move the victim away from the security of the website, communicating through other methods such as email.

Identity theft Identity theft is a growing crime in which the offender/imposter obtains key pieces of personal information (e.g. address, birth date, driver's license, and student numbers) in order to impersonate someone else, usually for criminal purposes.

Cyber bullying Cyber bullying is the use of mobile phones, instant messaging, email, chat rooms or social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to harass, threaten or intimidate someone. The term is also used to describe the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person (such as a student), often anonymously.

Policy statement

OUA is committed to:

Privacy Act

OUA conforms to the requirements of the Higher Education Support Act (HESA), 2003 and requirements of the Commonwealth Privacy Act, and the privacy requirements of the respective state jurisdictions (see OUA Privacy Policy).

Mitigating risk of identity theft

Identity theft and unauthorised data use is a growing online safety concern among students and the wider public. In order to provide appropriate levels of security for students and to protect OUA from reputational risk in the changing digital environment with its growing security complexities, OUA needs to consider this issue in the development of its policies and procedures particularly in public facing areas. It also has the responsibility of according with the letter and spirit of the Privacy Act which has as its intent protection from misuse of personal information.

Appropriate security checks have been implemented for students who contact OUA either by phone or electronically (including by email and through the OUA website), but the increasing use of outbound campaigns highlights OUA's responsibilities to establish its bona fides, and assure data security while conducting such campaigns.

While OUA is clearly acting within the law when it conducts outbound campaigns to students who have given permission to be contacted commercially, care needs to be taken when contacting such students that personal information is not revealed inappropriately.

In order to protect students against potential identity theft, the following principles should apply when making outbound contacts:

Cyber bullying and harassment

OUA has policies that are designed to protect students from cyber bullying and harassment. It enforces enrolment restrictions on students who are in breach of its Bullying and Harassment Policy.

Students are encouraged to report instances of bullying and harassment.


The various jurisdictions around Australia have or are progressively tightening the law concerning grooming, particularly for students under 16, by introducing or passing legislation that makes it a crime whether in person or online, including the grooming of families and parents. While the laws focus on the offenders themselves and not on the organisation through which an offender might participate in grooming, OUA is committed to the protection of it students from grooming activities and any online harassment.

It does this by:


Two of the major sources of scamming are phone contact and email contact. OUA provides advice about avoidance of scamming (See Appendix A) as part of its online safety policy, and has instituted processes to ensure that its students are clear about the authenticity of any outbound contact from the organisation.

Internal processes

Students under 18 will be sent a copy of the Online Safety Advice (see Appendix A)

The Online Safety Advice is made available on the OUA website and other social media sites.

Appendix A: online safety advice

Safety while studying on the internet

As part of online learning you will be participating in online discussion and activities with fellow students. This is a vital and valuable part of learning and you are encouraged to take up the opportunity to enhance your learning though the proven benefits of social collaboration. However, there are some precautions that it is important that you take.

Though you are in a generally safe environment, it is important that you still remain on your guard against identity theft, scamming and harassment. Sometimes people who have been scammed, had their identities stolen by a criminal or harassed have inadvertently contributed to this by sharing too much information, including posting too much personal information about themselves on the internet, particularly on social networking sites.

Our advice is that you don't post personal information that can be used to identify you personally, such as your date of birth, address, telephone number or email account details, in your study-related chat rooms or social networking sites. We do not advise that you arrange to meet fellow students in person or communicate with them privately unless you already know them and trust them.

Some online safety tips are:

If anyone tries to bully, harass or make inappropriate suggestions to you as part of your studies do not hesitate to contact OUA at