A Child Safe Organisation

AFP Commissioner's commitment to child safety

On 11 June 2020, Commissioner Reece Kershaw APM signed a high level statement of commitment with the Acting head of the National Office of Child Safety Rebekah Kilpatrick, committing to protect children and young people from abuse, harm and neglect.

The Commissioner reinstated the AFP's commitment to ensuring all AFP personnel have awareness of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations and the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework to ensure child safety and wellbeing is considered throughout all levels of the organisation. Child protection remains a priority for the AFP now and into the future.

Adoption of the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Royal Commission) examined what makes an organisation child safe and highlighted the need to provide an environment in which children and young people are safe, protected and respected, and where staff have the skills, confidence and knowledge to safeguard children.

In response to the Royal Commission, the Australian Government introduced the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework (the Framework), a whole-of-government policy that sets minimum standards for creating and embedding child safe cultures and practices in Commonwealth entities.

The AFP has commenced implementing the Framework through the adoption of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations, undertaking a Child Safe Survey of the organisation to inform a risk assessment and the establishment of the AFP Child Safe Handbook (PDF, 2.6MB) along with establishing and enhancing training to ensure AFP personnel are aware of their obligations and responsibilities to be child safe.

Statement of Compliance with the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework

The AFP Child Safe Handbook (PDF, 2.6MB) was launched by Deputy Commissioner Operations on 13 December 2021 following the AFP's adoption of the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations by the AFP Commissioner in June 2020. In order to meet the requirements of the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework, the AFP Child Safe Survey will be delivered to all AFP appointees in early 2022. Following the results of the 2022 Child Safe Survey, the AFP Child Safe Risk Assessment will be undertaken to determine the level of risk across the AFP to ensure children and young people are safe from abuse, harm and neglect and the AFP meets all requirements of the Commonwealth Child Safe Framework.

AFP Child Safe Handbook

The AFP Child Safe Handbook (PDF, 2.6MB) has been established to recognise that it is a corporate responsibility for all AFP personnel to safeguard the wellbeing of children and young people.

The Handbook (PDF, 2.6MB) guides AFP personnel through child safe requirements related to their work including recruitment, procurement of child safe services, training, requirements to engage with children and mandatory reporting. 

In response to any queries concerning the Handbook, please email the Child Safe Programs Team.

AFP Child Safe Programs Team

The Child Safe Programs Team plays a critical role in ensuring the AFP is a child safe organisation and that AFP personnel have awareness of child safety through the implementation of the:

AFP Child Protection Operations

Child Protection Operations focusses on identifying Australians engaged in the sexual abuse of children offshore and Australians involved in the production of child abuse material (CAM). This is achieved through the Joint Anti Child Exploitation Teams (JACETs) across Australia, the National Child Protection Operations team and the Victim Identification Team (VIT).

VIT

The VIT provides assistance to all AFP investigations where Child Exploitation Material (CEM) is located with the aim of identifying child victims in seized material. In identifying potential victims the VIT liaises with Australian and/or foreign law enforcement agencies, particularly jurisdictions in which the child resides, with the objective of removing the child from harm. The VIT engages with government and non-government agencies to assist and obtain information relating to identifying victims.

JACETs

The JACETs are joint AFP and State and Territory police child protection teams located in capital cities to collaboratively share the risks and responsibilities in combatting child sexual exploitation. The teams were implemented in response to the high volume and velocity of child sexual exploitation reports received by the AFP.

AFP Child Protection Plan 2020 - 2022

The AFP Child Protection Plan 2020 – 2022 (PDF, 3.4MB) covers the remit and roles of AFP Child Protection teams including AFP Child Protection Operations, Joint Anti Child Exploitation Teams (JACETs), Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) and the Northern Territory Child Abuse Taskforce (NTCAT). 

Law enforcement responses to child sexual abuse

The AFP is responsible for leading Final Report Recommendation 6.24 of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and provides advice against a number of other recommendations including those in the Criminal Justice Report.

A broad range of activities are undertaken by the AFP to meet Recommendation 6.24 which includes delivering nationwide law enforcement responses to combat online child sexual abuse including collaboration with the eSafety, state and territory police services and trusted partners from both government and industry. This is complemented by prevention and education focussed activities delivered to the Australian community.

Enhanced cooperation with eSafety Commissioner

In September 2020, the AFP Commissioner and eSafety Commissioner signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to provide a means for enhanced collaboration and coordination of activities including reports of information and education and prevention programs to facilitate positive outcomes for Australian children who are vulnerable to a range of online harms.

Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

The AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) is a centre of expertise and specialist skills providing a coordinated response to the online exploitation of children both in Australia and overseas. The ACCCE combines the resources and experience of government agencies, non-government organisations and private industry.

The ACCCE brings together a world-leading approach, incorporating key stakeholders and partners to drive a collaborative effort to counter the global epidemic of child exploitation. 

Online Child Safety

The AFP is involved in many crime prevention and awareness raising initiatives which keep young people safe online and reduces the incidence of online child sexual exploitation.

ThinkUKnow is an evidence-based education program led by the Australian Federal Police (AFP), delivered nationally to parents, carers educators and young people to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

The program incorporates up-to-date research, real case studies and examples from reports made to the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation.

ThinkUKnow is pro-technology and addresses topics including self-generated online child sexual exploitation material, online grooming, image-based abuse, sexual extortion, and importantly encourages help seeking behaviour.

ThinkUKnow is a partnership between the AFP, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Datacom and Microsoft Australia, and in collaboration with all State and Territory police and Neighbourhood Watch Australasia.

Playing IT Safe, was launched in 2020, and is an early childhood online safety initiative for prior to school aged children teaching them to use networked technology in safe and appropriate ways and to support parents, carers and educators to develop approaches and systems that keep children safe online.

Playing IT Safe aims to provide an introduction to online safety education through preventative messaging, a series of digital play-based and offline activities that children can undertake in early learning settings and at home, along with resources for parents, carers and educators.

Playing IT Safe is a partnership between the AFP, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation and the eSafety Commissioner.

Operation GRIFFIN

The AFP and all state and territory police continue to work together through Operation Griffin, which brings together heads of law enforcement child protection units across Australia and New Zealand, to improve the coordination of law enforcement responses to child sexual exploitation.

Northern Territory Child Abuse Taskforce

The Northern Territory (NT) Child Abuse Taskforce (CAT) comprises members from the AFP, NT Police and Department of Children and Families (DCF). CAT investigations involve a targeted joint response to identify and respond to reports of sexual abuse and serious harm against children.

For more information on the work the AFP is undertaking in response to the Royal Commission please contact childsafeprograms@afp.gov.au.

More information

National Security Hotline

Read the AFP Annual Report 2020-21

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

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