NT man arrested at Darwin Airport for possession of child abuse material

Child_Exploitation

This is a joint release between Australian Federal Police, Australian Border Force and Northern Territory Police

A Darwin man has been charged with two counts of possessing child abuse material by the Northern Territory Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (NT-JACET).

The man, 27, appeared before the Darwin Local Court on 7 September 2022.

The investigation began after the man arrived on a flight at Darwin International Airport on Monday (5 September, 2022) and Australian Border Force officers allegedly found child abuse material on his mobile phone.

Investigators from the NT-JACET, comprising members from the AFP and Northern Territory Police, arrested the man on 6 September with the support of the ABF and executed a search warrant on a vehicle and house linked to the man.

Police seized a number of electronic devices which will now be subject to further forensic examination.

AFP Detective Sergeant Edwin Windle said this arrest was another reminder of the commitment undertaken by the AFP and its partners to protect children and identify and prosecute anyone who seeks to exploit and harm them. 

"Anyone who produces or shares child abuse material is part of the problem, it is they who create the market for child abuse material online, which causes further harm to our community's most vulnerable - our children," he said. 

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

ABF Acting Regional Commander Budhy Tanddo noted the ABF’s steadfast commitment to preventing this type of abhorrent content from crossing the border.

“The ABF is the first line of defence at our borders, and we take our responsibility seriously to detect people, goods and substances which can cause serious harm to our community,” Acting Regional Commander Tanddo said.

Northern Territory Police Detective Senior Sergeant Matt Akers said this investigation again shows how closely police around Australia 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," he said.

The man was charged with:

  • One charge of accessing child abuse material using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
  • One charge of possessing child abuse material obtained using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

He faced Darwin Magistrates Court and was remanded in custody until 25 October 2022.

The maximum penalty for these offence 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 (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 2020-21

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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