Victorian man jailed for child abuse material offences

Child_Exploitation

A Victorian man has been jailed for 1 year and 2 months for child abuse-related offences following a Victorian Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (JACET) investigation.

The St Kilda man, 48, was sentenced in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today (19 August) after pleading guilty to three charges relating to child abuse material being possessed, transmitted and accessed online.

The investigation began when the Australian Federal Police-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about an online user transmitting child abuse material on a messenger app.

Investigators from the Victoria JACET, which comprises AFP and Victoria Police officers, linked the man to the account.

A search warrant was executed at the man's home on 29 October, 2021, and investigators seized two mobile phones, a laptop and several USB storage devices.

The man was convicted of the following charges:

  • Possessing child abuse material accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Transmitting child abuse material using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Using a carriage service to access child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

AFP Senior Constable (S/C) Mark Sharer said the AFP never wavers in its commitment to investigate and charge people allegedly involved in the exploitation or sexual abuse of children.

"This work can be gut-wrenching, but our investigators are relentless in their pursuit of anyone producing, accessing or sharing child abuse material, and they will follow up any information to bring these people to justice,” S/C Sharer said.

“This investigation is another example of the expertise and commitment of the AFP in helping protect children everywhere from online predators.”

The man was sentenced to a total effective sentence of 14 months’ imprisonment. It was ordered that he is to be released after serving 4 months in prison on a Recognisance Release Order.

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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