Suncorp Stadium helping AFP solve child abuse cases

The smallest clue may help save a child and remove them from a lifetime of abuse

Editor's note: Trace an Object video is available via Hightail

Suncorp Stadium will join forces with the Australian Federal Police to help solve cold case, child sex abuse crimes.

During September football finals, video screens throughout Suncorp Stadium grounds will promote, Stop Child Abuse - Trace an Object campaign, which encourages the public to become community detectives and provide tip-offs and information to investigators.

A QR code will be shown on screens that will direct spectators to the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) website, which has released non-confrontational images extracted from child exploitation videos. Images include unique clothing, furniture, soft furnishings, tiles, and bed sheets.

Investigators from the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation believe the victims are in the Asia Pacific region, including Australia.

While Stop Child Abuse - Trace an Object was launched on 3 March 2021, four new images will be released today (1 September, 2021) to coincide with the partnership.

Minister for Home Affairs Karen Andrews said the work of protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation was one the entire community could get behind and play a part in.

"Protecting children is everyone's responsibility and the ACCCE's Stop Child Abuse - Trace an Object campaign highlights why the public's support is so vital," Minister Andrews said.

"The information you submit might just be the one missing piece of the puzzle that saves an at risk child or puts an offender behind bars."

AFP Commander Hilda Sirec thanked Suncorp Stadium for their cooperation and encouraged the tens of thousands of spectators who would enter the grounds to view the images.

"These are cases where we have exhausted our leads. We believe the abuse is still continuing and that's why we need help from the community,'' Commander Sirec said.

The AFP has a number of hard-working and dedicated investigators whose full-time job is to view child exploitation material to identify victims and arrest perpetrators.

"These are images from our cold cases. We will never give up on these children. We need to find them because no child should have to endure the abuse they are encountering.

"There are people in the community who can help investigators. We are hoping spectators may be among the community detectives who help us crack these cases."

Suncorp Stadium General Manager Alan Graham said, "Suncorp Stadium has a strong community connection and we can see how important it is to play a role in this initiative.

"We welcome patrons of all ages to attend our events and pride ourselves on being an inclusive and family focused Stadium.

"We're pleased to be working with the AFP by using our platforms to help promote the Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object campaign and encourage the wider community to get on board."

The Stop Child Abuse - Trace an Object dedicated website has been viewed more than 53,300 times and 589 tip-offs received since its initial launch.

The ACCCE is committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and is at the centre of a collaborative national approach to combatting organised child abuse.

The Centre brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into child sexual abuse and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.

The reports received are of significant value and have sparked three investigative leads. It has also prompted other members of the public to report their own abuse.

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or report online.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available.

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protection children online can be found at ThinkUKnow, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

FAST FACTS

  • The production of child sexual abuse material is getting worse. In the early-to-mid 2000s, a child sex offender had about 1000 images but now it's between 10,000-80,000 images and videos.
  • Child sex predators are using COVID-19 to find more victims who are spending more time online because of lockdowns and restrictions.
  • During the past financial year, the AFP charged 234 people with 2772 child abuse-related offences.

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 Media: (02) 5126 9297

National Security Hotline

Read the AFP Annual Report 2020-21

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

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