NSW man charged with 18 counts of child abuse-related offences

Child_Exploitation

Editor’s note: An image from the arrest is available via Hightail

A Central Coast man appeared in Wyong Local Court today charged with 18 counts of child abuse-related offences by the AFP following a referral from the United States.

The investigation began in September 2021 when the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a report from the United States’ National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) relating to the upload of child abuse material by a Kik user.

Eastern Commander Child Protection Officers allegedly linked the 41-year-old man to the Kik account.

A search warrant was executed at the man's home in Chittaway Point today (16 March 2021), with investigators seizing two iPhones, a laptop computer, a hard drive and a USB drive. The digital devices will now be subject to further forensic examination.

AFP Detective Inspector Jeremy Staunton said the charges demonstrated the AFP's commitment to investigate and charge offenders believed to be involved in child exploitation and sexual abuse.

“This arrest should serve as a warning that law enforcement is dedicated to fighting child sexual abuse and bringing those who commit these offences before the court,” Det-Insp Staunton said.

“Our investigators are relentless in their pursuit of anyone sharing or accessing child abuse material.”

The man was arrested and charged with:

  • Five counts of possess or control child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code (Cth);
  • Two counts of use carriage service to transmit, makes available, publish, distribute or promote child abuse material contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code (Cth);
  • Two counts of use carriage service to access child abuse material contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code (Cth);
  • Two counts of use carriage service to solicit child abuse material contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iv) of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
  • Seven counts of produce child abuse material contrary to section 91H(2) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW).

The maximum penalty for these offences is 15 years' imprisonment.

The man was refused bail and will appear in court on 17 May.

The AFP is also urging the public to help it solve cold case child abuse investigations through its Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object initiative. The smallest clue can often help solve a case.

The world-leading initiative, is centred on the publishing of non-confrontational images that can be seen in child exploitation online material such as pieces of clothing or bedding.

Australian investigators believe the images are linked to victims in the Asia Pacific Region, including Australia, and are calling on the community to view the images and make a report at www.accce.gov.au/trace

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

The ACCCE 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 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.

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 2020-21

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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