WA man in court over alleged child abuse material offences

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

A Maddington man is expected to appear in Perth Magistrate's Court today (12 March 2021) over allegations he accessed and shared child abuse material online.

The Western Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (WA JACET) charged the 34-year-old man with four offences after investigating a referral from the United States' National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

NCMEC reported that a person believed to be in Australia was uploading abhorrent and illegal content to social media platforms.

WA JACET identified the 34-year-old as the suspected user of the accounts and executed a search warrant at his home last month (February).

Police allegedly found a large quantity of child abuse material on three electronic devices and charged the man with:

  • Three counts of possessing a device containing child abuse material obtained through a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Use a carriage service to transmit child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

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

AFP Acting Superintendent Renee Colley said WA JACET investigators are relentless in their efforts to track down and prosecute anyone who seeks to bring harm to any child, wherever they live.

"That includes anyone who accesses and shares images or videos of children being abused by other people," Acting Superintendent Colley said.

"The demand for this horrific material contributes to the physical harm of children."

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.

You can also make a report online by alerting the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the Report Abuse button.

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect 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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AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297.

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