Queensland man charged with online child abuse-related offences

Child_Exploitation

A Queensland man is due to appear in Pine Rivers Magistrates Court today (12 August, 2022) charged with allegedly possessing and sharing child abuse material.

AFP Brisbane Child Protection Operations investigators charged the man, 24, in June (2022), following an investigation into a report from the United States’ National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

NCMEC alerted the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) about an online user uploading child abuse material to Kik messenger.

AFP investigators allegedly linked the Queensland man to the illegal online activity and executed a search warrant at his Brisbane home on 30 June. They allegedly found child abuse material on a mobile phone and laptop and the digital devices will be subject to further forensic examination.

AFP Detective Inspector Kurt Wesche said the investigation highlighted how closely police around the world worked together to combat the exploitation and abuse of children.

"Our common goal is to protect children, wherever they live, and to ensure anyone who tries to harm them is identified and brought before the courts," Detective Inspector Wesche said.

The man was charged with:

  • one count of possessing child abuse material accessed or obtained using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • one count of using a carriage service to access child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
  • one count of transmitting child abuse material using a carriage service contrary to section 474.22 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 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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Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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