Statement from father of victim of online child exploitation

Media note: The father of the child who approached the AFP provided the below statement on the condition of anonymity.

“My son was the victim of an online paedophile. It took him weeks of extortion and exploitation before he could speak up. I am glad my son had the courage to speak up and show me what was happening. We were able to take screen shots and send them to the police and the paedophile was caught.

My son says that he wishes he didn’t have to be the one that spoke up - he wishes someone before him spoke up and it never would have happened to him, they would have saved themselves and they would have saved all the other victims that came after them.

I have told my son that by speaking up and showing me what was happening he has not only saved himself but he saved all the other kids that would have been victims in the future - he is a hero for speaking up.

My son knows it isn’t enough to just delete or block and run when you encounter an online paedophile, you have to tell your parents when it happens - they can keep you safe plus get the police to track the person down so he doesn’t do it other people. My son was scared to speak up but he knows that it makes you safer if you speak up and hiding it makes you less safe.

I am proud of my son for speaking up and showing me what was happening to him - it would have taken him great courage to show me as his father what he was doing after being forced to by this paedophile - by telling me and showing me what was happening to him we were able to collect evidence to have the paedophile caught and he has saved a lot of other kids from falling victim.

He, and we, won’t know the full impact this will have on him for many years, if we ever do - it will be there for the rest of his life - what we do know is that by being brave enough to tell and show me it was immediately stopped. The impact was for him was minimised, the person was caught and he has saved all the future victims from harm."

If it doesn't add up, speak up. Call the National Security Hotline - 1800 123 400.

Read the AFP Annual Report 2021-22

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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