WA man charged with distributing child abuse material online
This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Western Australia Police.
A Perth man, 21, is expected to face Perth Magistrates Court today (26 August, 2022) charged with possessing and accessing child abuse material online.
The Western Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET), which comprises AFP and WA Police officers, charged the man with two offences after executing a search warrant at the man’s Thornlie home on 12 August 2022.
The investigation began in May 2022 when the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation received a report from the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency about an online user in Western Australia uploading child abuse material to social media platforms. AFP Investigators linked the man to the illegal online activity.
Officers executing a search warrant at the man’s home seized three mobile phones which allegedly contained child abuse material.
Detective Inspector Andrea Coleman said the charges demonstrated the AFP's commitment to investigate and charge offenders believed to be involved in child exploitation and sexual abuse.
"This work is gut-wrenching, but our investigators are relentless in their pursuit of anyone sharing or accessing child abuse material, and they will follow-up any information to bring these people to justice,” she said.
The man is scheduled to face court today charged with:
- One charge of possession of child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
- One charge of accessing child abuse material contrary to section 474.22 (1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code 1995(Cth).
The maximum penalty for each offence is 15 years' imprisonment.
The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the 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 and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.accce.gov.au/report. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.
Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety.
An award-winning podcast launched last year by the ACCCE 'Closing The Net' is working to change that, showcasing that knowledge is power and that our only chance to help prevent this issue is if we bring a 'whole-of-community' response.
The podcast series offers valuable tips and advice on how to keep kids safe online. Listen to the Closing The Net podcast on your favourite streaming platform.
If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available at www.accce.gov.au/support.
Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at www.thinkuknow.org.au, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.
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.
AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297
WA Police Force Media: (08) 9222 1011