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Making a real difference in protecting children online


Paul Litherland was a WA Police Officer for 20 years (1994 to 2014).

In 2007, Paul received a Pride of Australia Medal and in 2022, was named WA Australian of the Year. For almost 30 years, Paul has dedicated himself to the community not only as a Police Officer, but as a mentor for junior sportspeople and Aboriginal youth.

From 2008 to 2014, Paul worked in the Technology Crime Investigation Unit, becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of legislation available to act on the concerns of those who were contacting him every day for help. Whilst pressing government for change, Paul realised education was massively needed. If he could get his message out to as many schools as possible, the risks kids were being exposed to would hopefully reduce.

Current Work:

In 2019, Paul received national recognition as the leading campaigner for the introduction of Intimate Image Abuse legislation in Western Australia. Paul continues to press our government for action and is a leading figure in the drive for legislative and cultural change for the protection of children online, especially in regard to Social Networking and Online Gaming. Paul continues to press the WA Government for the introduction of specific cyberbullying legislation, which he hopes will replace current inadequate and outdated laws.

Paul is now a regular visitor to many of the nation’s most prestigious colleges and is also an advisor to organisations such as the Telethon Kids Institute, the eSafety Commission, The Commissioner for the Victims of Crime, the Stephen Michael Foundation and The Fathering Project.

In 2016 Paul was awarded a National Service Medal for his continued service to the Western Australian community. In 2019, he was a finalist in the Small Business Champion Awards and also received a nomination for the Telstra Australian Businessman of the Year.

Talking Points

Surf Online Safe - Education & Awareness

Frontline Knowledge - My experiences, insight and knowledge working at the coalface of online crime for almost 20years.

Digital Citizenship - Where kids are going online, the Apps they are using and the information they are sharing.

Online Footprint - How easy it is to find users online and what we can do to minimise risk.

Social Networking & Networking in general - How the systems work and how to overcome their reach.
Online Gaming and Website Use - Risks and uses.

Sexting and Sextortion - Trends, risks and up to date stats in regard to this issue.

Tips & Tricks - How to keep an eye on your kids through software and hardware. Easy instructions on what we can do to keep them safe.

Cyber Bullying - Responsibilities and statistics. Coping strategies and reporting options.

Reporting Options - Sites and options to help when things go wrong.

Grooming and Predatory Behaviours - How offenders work and where victims are getting caught out.

Overcoming Hardship

Sharing Paul's experiences and battles dealing with serious injuries as a result of being hit by a car when he was a police officer. Over an arduous 6year rehabilitation period, dealing with severe depression and attempts at suicide, he was able to come out of the darkness to embrace my journey to help others.

Trusting the Journey

As a child growing up in a household gripped with the most severe domestic violence, then with a single mother who escaped that life to raise 5 young children on her own, Paul was able to survive and strive!

Having started my journey with the greatest hardship and from the lowest of socio-economic beginnings, Paul was able to defy the odds and become a leader in the community and someone making a real difference in the lives of others.
He was so so so good! Not only me, but all my friends loved listening to him. Paul made it enjoyable and not just a scary or over used topic. Unlike some presenters that just try to "fit in" or say things that they think will be relevant to us, Paul actually understood because he's been through it and he knows what it's like. He constantly assured us and made sure we knew what it was all about and the effect it had and what we could do about it. I was genuinely interested and I was listening the whole time, wanting to take in everything. I am super excited to have him come in again. Year 9 Student: Iona Presentation College

Hi Paul, this evening over dinner my girl shared details of what she learnt today from your presentation. We spoke about social media and issues for at least an hour - couldn’t stop her talking about all the things, shocking stats, consequences etc. It was such a good positive conversation and clear learning. Tonight, was the first time I have seen her openly talk about these challenges and passionately wanting to do the right thing for herself and others. So my message - Thank you. Thank you for what you are doing, you are making a difference in the lives of children.

Parent: Bunbury Catholic College

That is the first talk we have ever had where someone has actually spoken to us instead of just telling us off or telling us what not to do. Me and my friends spoke before the talk and thought it was going to be a typical cyber safety speech. We were so wrong. It was funny, and you were so spot on about what we are using. That was brilliant Paul and you are the best presenter we have ever seen. I can't wait to see you again next year.

Year 7: Frederick Irwin Anglican
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