WA man charged with nine online child abuse related offences

Child_Exploitation

This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police, Homeland Security Investigations and Western Australia Police Force

Editor’s note: Audio grabs from AFP Detective Sergeant Ross Hinscliff are available via Hightail here

A 46-year-old man is expected to face Perth Magistrate’s Court today (2 June 2022) charged with nine offences over the alleged possession and sharing of images and videos of child abuse material.

The Western Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (WA JACET) arrested and charged the man, from Perth’s south-eastern suburbs, as a result of an investigation launched following a referral from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in the United States.

The report alleged that an internet user in WA had shared child abuse material over a number of online social media platforms.

AFP investigators allegedly linked the 46-year-old to the email addresses associated with the social media accounts.

When WA JACET – which comprises AFP and WA Police officers – executed a search warrant at the man’s home on 10 May 2022, investigators allegedly found child abuse material on mobile phones.

AFP Detective Sergeant Ross Hinscliff said the AFP, together with its international law enforcement partners, remained committed to protecting children.

"Anyone who views this material is committing a crime and supporting a vile industry that will abuse more children to satisfy the demand," he said.

HSI Attache to Australia Adam Parks said HSI commended the WA JACET for their quick action on this referral. 

“This sends a clear message that justice will come for those who seek to exploit our children, and further dispels the notion that there is safe haven when this activity is conducted across international borders,” he said.

The man was charged with:

  • Two counts of possessing child abuse material accessed or obtained using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Two counts of using a carriage service to access child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Two count of causing child abuse material to be transmitted, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Three counts of transmitting child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is 15 years' imprisonment.

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.

“But we will always need the community’s help to ensure we are effective in identifying victims and perpetrators.

“If you have information that could help law enforcement, please contact the ACCCE at www.accce.gov.au/report.”

Media enquiries:

AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297

WA Police Force Media: (08) 9222 1011

If it doesn't add up, speak up. Call the National Security Hotline - 1800 123 400.

Read the AFP Annual Report 2020-21

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation - visit website

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