WA man charged over alleged online child abuse offences

Child_Exploitation

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

Editor’s note: Video and audio quotes from AFP Detective Superintendent Graeme Marshall available here

A 55-year-old man is expected to face Perth Magistrate’s Court today (8 April 2022) on four charges after police allegedly found videos of girls being sexually abused stored on his electronic devices.

The Western Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (WA JACET) arrested and charged the man on 24 March 2022 after allegedly finding the illegal videos, as well as a record of an online request for child abuse material, during a search of his Mosman Park home.

The investigation was launched after a referral from Interpol about a teenager in the United Kingdom (UK) who told police about online communications she allegedly had with an Australian-based man.

The WA JACET, which comprises AFP and WA Police officers, allegedly linked the 55-year-old to the messaging accounts used.

Electronic devices found at the man’s home will be subject to further forensic examination.

AFP Detective Superintendent Graeme Marshall said the AFP worked with partners around the world to protect children from sexual exploitation and abuse, no matter where they lived.

“The sharing of child abuse videos and images is not a victimless crime,” he said.

“These are not just images on a screen, every image and every second of a video has a real child being abused and being subjected to a situation that no child should ever experience.”

The 55-year-old has been charged with:

  • Three counts of possession of child abuse material obtained using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • One count of causing child abuse material to be transmitted using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22(1)(ii) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

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

The AFP is also urging the public to help it solve cold case child abuse investigations through its Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object initiative. The smallest clue can often help solve a case.

The world-leading initiative, is centred on the publishing of non-confrontational images that can be seen in child exploitation online material such as pieces of clothing or bedding.

Australian investigators believe the images are linked to victims in the Asia Pacific Region, including Australia, and are calling on the community to view the images and make a report at www.accce.gov.au/trace

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the ACCCE is at the centre of a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.

The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into child sexual abuse 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.

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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