South Australian man charged with possessing child abuse material

Child_Exploitation

Editor’s note: Images of the seized devices are available via Hightail

An Elizabeth Downs man charged with possessing child abuse material is expected to face Adelaide Magistrates Court today (20 July 2022), following an investigation by the South Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (SA JACET).

The investigation began in December 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 about a user uploading child abuse material to an online messaging application.

The report showed that the man, 25, had viewed 76 media files classified as child abuse material.

On 11 May 2022, members from the SA JACET executed two search warrants at residential properties linked to the man where investigators seized two mobile phones and a portable hard drive which were found to contain child abuse material.

Detective Acting Superintendent Rachel Ball said the investigation highlighted how closely police around the world worked together to combat the exploitation and abuse of our community’s most vulnerable people – our children.

“Children are not commodities to be used for the abhorrent gratification of sexual predators,’’ she said.

"Anyone who views this material is committing a serious crime which causes severe and long-term impacts on the children involved and their families.

 “Our message to online offenders has not changed – if you procure, access and transmit child abuse material, you will be found, arrested and prosecuted.”

The man was arrested and has been charged with the following:

  • one count of possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • one count of possessing child exploitation material (basic), contrary to section 63A of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA); and
  • one count of possessing child exploitation material (aggravated), contrary to section 63A of the Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA).

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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