WA man jailed for online child abuse related offences

Child_Exploitation

A man, 38, who shared videos and images of infants and children being sexually abused was sentenced to three years and six months’ imprisonment by the District Court of Western Australia today (11 November 2022).

The man had earlier pleaded guilty to 14 online child abuse-related offences, after he was charged by the AFP in 2021 following an investigation that was launched after a report from the United States’ National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).

AFP officers executed a search warrant at the man’s home in WA’s Mid-West region in August 2021, finding child abuse material on electronic devices.

A forensic examination of his computer, a work mobile phone and a personal phone uncovered messages in which he and another person discussed drugging and sexually abusing a young girl, as well as evidence that he had exchanged child abuse material with other people via encrypted messaging apps.

AFP Detective Sergeant Ross Hinscliff said the children being abused in the horrendous videos and images were re-victimised every time someone downloaded and shared that file. 

“This case again shows that the AFP is working closely with state and international partners to tackle the rising global issue of child exploitation and abuse,” he said. 

“Offenders are on notice that we are working tirelessly to protect children and prosecute anyone contributing to their harm.”  

The man had pleaded guilty on 25 March 2022 to:

  • Seven counts of transmitted child abuse material using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • Two counts of accessed child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth);
  • Two counts of possessed or controlled child abuse material obtained using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and
  • Three counts of caused child abuse material to be transmitted to himself, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

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

He has been ordered to serve a minimum of two years and three months’ imprisonment before being eligible to apply for parole.

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation 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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