Bendigo man charged with possessing child abuse material

A 61-year-old Bendigo man is expected to face court today (Friday, 10 September 2021) charged with child abuse material offences following a Victorian Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (JACET) investigation.

The investigation began in March 2021 after Australian Federal Police (AFP) received three reports from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the US alleging that in November 2020, a Facebook user in Australia had uploaded 15 videos containing child abuse material.

The videos uploaded portrayed prepubescent and pubescent males and females in sexual poses and were transmitted to other Facebook users.

AFP members from the Victoria JACET allegedly linked the Kangaroo Flat man through IP address checks and verifying the mobile number connected to the Facebook Messenger account.

A search warrant was executed at the man's home on Thursday 17 June 2021, with investigators seizing a laptop and mobile phone for forensic examination.

The man was arrested and charged with possessing child abuse material accessed or obtained using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years' imprisonment.

He is expected to appear before Bendigo Magistrates’ Court.

AFP Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling said this investigation again shows how closely Commonwealth, state and international law enforcement agencies work together to combat the exploitation and abuse of children.

"Our common goal is to protect children, wherever they live, and ensure anyone who tries to harm them is identified and brought before the courts," Detective Superintendent Crossling said.

The ACCCE is committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and is at the centre of a collaborative national approach to combatting organised child abuse.

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

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online.

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

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protection children online can be found at ThinkUKnow, 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.

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The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

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