Wollongong man charged with allegedly possessing child abuse material

Child_Exploitation

A 45-year-old Wollongong man was arrested yesterday (Thursday, 16 September 2021) and charged with child abuse-related offences following an Australian Federal Police operation.

The man is expected to appear in Sydney Central Local Court today.

The investigation began in June 2021 after the Australian Federal Police Child Protection Triage Unit received a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) regarding an individual located in Australia uploading child abuse material via Facebook Messenger.

Investigators from AFP Eastern Command Child Protection Operations allegedly linked the 45-year-old Wollongong man to the Facebook account.

Further investigation allegedly linked the man to an additional 15 NCMEC reports using the same platform to send or receive child abuse material, containing images and videos of prepubescent children of Asian and Philippine appearance.

A search warrant was executed at the man's business premises in Rockdale yesterday with investigators seizing a mobile phone. The device will now be subject to further forensic examination.

The man was arrested and charged with:

  • Possessing child abuse material, contrary to section 91H of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW);
  • Possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code (Cth);
  • Transmitting child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
  • Soliciting child abuse material using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code (Cth).

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

AFP Detective Leading Senior Constable Amanda Thompson said anyone who produces, shares or accesses child abuse material is creating the abhorrent market for children to be physically and mentally harmed.

"Anyone who accesses or shares this material is complicit in the physical abuse of children and we are committed to identifying them and bringing them before the courts," she said.

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 report online.

If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available.

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.

Media enquiries

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

National Security Hotline

Read the AFP Annual Report 2020-21

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

Platypus Online: Read. Discover. Enjoy.