Mornington Peninsula man charged with possessing child abuse material

A man from Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula has been charged with child abuse material offences as part of a Victorian Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (VIC JACET) investigation.

The McCrae man, 46, is expected to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today (Friday 8 July, 2022).

The investigation began in September last year after the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a report about the alleged uploading and transmitting of 119 child abuse material images and videos to the Kik social media platform.

Investigators from the VIC JACET, comprising of AFP and Victoria Police members, linked the man to the social media account. It will be alleged in court this account belonged to the McCrae man.

A search warrant was executed at the man's home on Tuesday (5 July, 2022) with investigators seizing three mobile phones. The digital devices will now be subject to further forensic examination.

AFP Acting Superintendent Jonelle Lancashire said the arrest should serve as a fresh warning to the community that law enforcement remained dedicated to fighting child sexual abuse and bringing those who commit these offences before the court.

“Our investigators are relentless in their pursuit of anyone sharing or accessing child abuse material,” Acting Superintendent Lancashire said.

“However, we will always call on the community to continue to assist us to help identify both victims and perpetrators.”

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 Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for this 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.

Media enquiries

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If it doesn't add up, speak up. Call the National Security Hotline - 1800 123 400.

Read the AFP Annual Report 2020-21

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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