NSW man charged over 10 terabytes worth of suspected child abuse material

Child_Exploitation

Editor’s note: Vision of the arrest and audio grabs from AFP Detective Sergeant Jarryd Dunbar are available via hightail.

A NSW man has been charged with multiple child abuse-related offences by the AFP and faced Gosford Local Court today (22 June, 2022).

The man, 55, came to police attention when the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a report about an Australian user allegedly downloading child abuse material via a file sharing network. 

AFP investigators allegedly linked the IP address to the man’s home at North Gosford in NSW Central Coast region.

The man was arrested during a search warrant at his home yesterday (21 June, 2022) where investigators seized a large volume of electronic devices which are now subject to further forensic examination.

The devices seized by AFP officers are suspected to contain about 10 terabytes worth of child abuse content. This amount of data is equivalent to about 520 million WhatsApp messages or 65 million documents.

AFP Detective Sergeant Jarryd Dunbar said accessing a video or image of a child being sexually abused is not a victimless crime.

“The re-victimisation of child sexual abuse victims occurs every single time these images and videos are accessed and shared,” Det-Sgt Dunbar said.

“The perpetual abuse of these victims will not be left uncovered or unchallenged and the AFP will utilise every tool at our disposal to shine a light on this offending and end the cycle of abuse.”

The man was charged with:

  • Four counts of possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
  • One count of using a carriage service to access material, that material being child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

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

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation 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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