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24 November 2023, 8:13pm
Media Release

Vic man jailed for online child abuse offences

A Victorian man has been sentenced to two years’ and 11 months’ imprisonment by the Melbourne County Court for transmitting and possessing child abuse material online.  

The man, 44, from the Bass Coast region was sentenced today (24 November, 2023) after earlier pleading guilty to six online child abuse offences and three offences relating to breach of bail.

The Victorian Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (VIC JACET) first charged the man in 2021 after investigating a referral from the United States Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Unit about an online user in Australia uploading child abuse material and exchanging explicit messages online.

VIC JACET, comprising AFP and Victoria Police officers, linked the man to the online activity.

He was charged with three offences including possessing and transmitting online child abuse material, and granted bail by the courts. VIC JACET further charged the man in February 2023 after conducting a bail compliance check and found the man in possession of child abuse material.

The man was sentenced to two years and 11 months’ imprisonment. He has been ordered to serve 15 months in jail and has already been in custody for nine months. After that 15-month term he will be released on a recognisance release order to be of good behaviour for four years.

AFP Senior Constable Cassandra Barlee said the AFP and its law enforcement partners were committed to protecting children.

“Anyone who views this material is committing a crime,’’ Senior Constable Barlee said.

“Children are not commodities to be used for the abhorrent gratification of sexual predators.

“If you procure, access or transmit child abuse material, you will be found, arrested and prosecuted.”

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) is driving a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.

The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into online child sexual exploitation and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.

Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse are urged to contact the ACCCE. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.

If you or someone you know is impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation, support services are available.

Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety. Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found on the thinkuknow website, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

For more information on the role of the ACCCE, what is online child sexual exploitation and how to report it visit the ACCE website.

Note to media:

Use of term 'CHILD ABUSE' MATERIAL not ‘CHILD PORNOGRAPHY’

The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was among amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the gravity of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims.

Use of the phrase ‘child pornography’ is inaccurate and benefits child sex abusers because it:

  • indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser; and

  • conjures images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Every photograph or video captures an actual situation where a child has been abused.

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