Perth man, 42, jailed for online child abuse offences

Child_Exploitation

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Western Australia Police

A 42-year-old man who accessed and shared horrific videos and images of young children being sexually abused has been sentenced to five years’ jail by the Western Australia District Court today (10 June 2022).

The man pleaded guilty in March (2022) to 21 offences, which included obtaining hundreds of digital files of child abuse material which he saved on a hidden storage feature on his mobile phone. He also exchanged material with other offenders via online messaging platforms.

Investigators from the WA Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (WA JACET) arrested and charged the man in September (2021), following an investigation which began with a referral from the United States’ National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. The referral related to child abuse material being uploaded to a social media platform by a user suspected to be in Australia.

When WA JACET – which consists of AFP and WA Police officers – searched the man’s home in Perth’s northern suburbs in September they found child abuse material on his electronic devices.

An AFP digital forensic examination also uncovered records of online conversations the man had with other offenders about their depraved desires when they swapped the horrific material.

AFP Detective Inspector Andrea Coleman said child sex offenders could connect through the internet wherever they lived but law enforcement was also not restricted by borders.

“The AFP is working tirelessly with both domestic and international partners to identify and stop anyone involved in harming children,” Det-Insp Coleman said.

“Children are being forced to endure horrific pain, violence and humiliation for the gratification of depraved adults and this causes lifelong physical and emotional harm.

“We will never give up our fight to protect children and prosecute anyone involved in this vile behaviour.”

The 42-year-old man has been ordered to serve three years behind bars before he is eligible to apply for parole. The sentence was backdated to 1 September 2021, when he was remanded in custody.

He was convicted of the following offences:

  • 13 counts of accessed child abuse material using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • Five counts of transmitted child abuse material using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • Three counts of possessed or controlled child abuse material obtained through a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the AFP-led 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:

AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297

WA Police Force Media: (08) 9222 1011

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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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