Melbourne man sentenced for possessing child abuse material

Child_Exploitation

A Melbourne man has been sentenced to one-year imprisonment, to be released on recognisance order for one year for an online child abuse offence following a Victorian Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (JACET) investigation.

The Brunswick man, 40, was sentenced in the Melbourne County Court today (20 October 2022) after pleading guilty to one count of possessing child abuse material.

The investigation began when the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about an online user transmitting child abuse material.

Investigators from the Victoria JACET, which comprises AFP and Victoria Police officers, linked the man to the account.

A search warrant was executed at the man's home on 20 August 2021, where investigators seized a mobile phone and a laptop.

The man was arrested and charged on 22 September 2021 after a digital forensic review of the electronic devices identified child abuse material.

AFP Senior Constable Mark Sharer said the arrest was another reminder of the commitment undertaken by the AFP and its partners to protect children and identify and prosecute anyone who sought to exploit and harm them. 

"Anyone who possesses or shares child abuse material create the market for child abuse material, and prompts others to physically harm children," he said. 

"This arrest should serve as a warning that law enforcement is dedicated to fighting child sexual abuse and prosecute those who commit these offences." 

The man was sentenced to:

  • one-year imprisonment, to be released on recognisance order for one year and he will be recorded on the sex offender registry for 8 years.

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.

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Read the AFP Annual Report 2021-22

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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