Three WA men in court for alleged online child abuse offences

Child_Exploitation

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

Three men charged with alleged online child abuse offences by the Western Australian Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (WA JACET) are scheduled to face Perth Magistrate’s Court today (14 October 2022).

The Perth men, whose ages range  from 20 to 46, were among 45 people charged  as part of AFP Operation Tamworth / WA Police Operation Palomar. Police allegedly identified the men after investigating reports from the United States’ National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about individuals in Western Australia accessing child abuse material online.

Investigators from the WA JACET, which comprises AFP and WA Police officers, executed search warrants at the men’s homes in the Perth suburbs of Mandurah, Lockridge and Girrawheen.

Police allegedly found child abuse material on the mobile phones of each man. A laptop computer seized at one of the men’s homes also allegedly contained child abuse material.

There is no evidence at this stage that the men are connected or known to each other.

AFP Acting Inspector Peter Gelme said the AFP and its local and international partners remained committed to protecting our community's most vulnerable – our children.

"Anyone who views this material is committing a crime,’’ he said.

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

“This is not a victimless crime. Children are not commodities to be used for the abhorrent gratification of sexual predators.”

Details of those charged:

A Mandurah man, 46, charged with:

  • One count of accessing child abuse material contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Three counts of transmitting child abuse material contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
  • One count of possessing child abuse material contrary to section 474.22A (1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

A Lockridge man, 36, charged with:

  • Two counts of possessing child abuse material contrary to section 474.22A (1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Three counts of soliciting child abuse material contrary to section 474.19(1)(a)(iv) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
  • One count of transmit child abuse material contrary to section 474.22 (1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

A Girrawheen man, 20, charged with:

  • One count of possessing child abuse material contrary to section 474.22A (1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for each of these offence is fifteen years’ imprisonment.

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the 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.

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Read the AFP Annual Report 2021-22

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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