Victorian men arrested after allegedly sharing child abuse material and explicit abuse conversations

Child_Exploitation

Two Victorian men have been charged in the past week with online child abuse offences as a result of ongoing inquiries after the arrest of a 26-year-old Victorian man in February (2021). Police will allege the three men exchanged child exploitation material and explicit conversations about abusing children.

With support from the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation, the Victorian Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET) executed two search warrants between 22 and 23 April 2021 in the Melbourne CBD and the Melbourne suburb of Viewbank.

Police were allegedly led to the two men, aged 66 and 45, after examining electronic devices they seized from a 26-year-old man when they searched his Essendon home in February.

Digital forensic analysis of the devices allegedly showed child exploitation material and graphic conversations about child abuse had been shared with other individuals.

On 23 April 2021, a 45-year-old Viewbank man was arrested and charged with:

  • Possessing child abuse material 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)

The maximum penalty for these offences in 15 years’ imprisonment.

He is scheduled to face the Melbourne Magistrates today (30 April 2021).

On 22 February a 66-year-old Melbourne CBD man was arrested and charged with

  • Possessing child abuse material using a carriage service contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)

He faced Melbourne Magistrates Court on 23 April and is next scheduled to appear on 16 July 2021. 

If found guilty, he is also facing a potential 15 years’ imprisonment.

Police seized multiple electronic devices from the 45-year-old and 66-year-old men and have not ruled out further arrests.

Investigations remain ongoing.

AFP Commander Investigations Todd Hunter said sadly demand for child abuse material shows no signs of abating, but police will never give up their fight to keep children safe, wherever they live.

“Our investigators examine the most horrific and heartbreaking content, frame by frame, and share intelligence with partners around Australia and overseas, to identify and save children and prosecute perpetrators,” he said.

“These arrests show that police will follow the evidence as far as it leads, to every perpetrator.

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 make a report online via the ACCCE.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available, visit the ACCCE to learn more.

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

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 2019-20

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

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