Victorian man charged with possessing child abuse material

Child_Exploitation

A Victorian man, 29, is expected to face the Melbourne Magistrates court today (13 January 2023) charged with allegedly possessing child abuse material on his phone.

The investigation began on 29 June, 2022, when the AFP Child Protection Triage Unit (AFP CPTU) received a report from the United States’ National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

The report alleged the man was linked to eight files containing child abuse material uploaded on a social media account.

Investigators from the Victorian Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (VIC-JACET) conducted a search warrant at the man’s Manor Lakes home on Tuesday, 6 December, 2022.

During the search, investigators located and removed several electronic devices suspected of containing child abuse material and later seized two devices on which child abuse material was identified.

Detective Acting Superintendent Jonelle Lancashire 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," D/A/Supt Lancashire said.

“This arrest serves as a warning that possessing any file depicting child sexual abuse is a crime and law enforcement agencies will ensure those who commit these offences are brought before the court.” 

 The man was charged with possessing child abuse material accessed or obtained using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for the offences is 15 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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Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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