Online child sex exploitation

Child Pornography - Behind every picture there's painThe AFP Child Protection Operations (CPO) team performs an investigative and coordination role within Australia for multijurisdictional and international online child sex exploitation matters within the online and travel and tourism environments. These matters include those to and from Australian State and Territory Police, government and non-government organisations (including Internet Service Providers and Internet Content Hosts), the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), international law enforcement agencies, Interpol and members of the public.

The AFP investigates online child exploitation which occurs using a telecommunications service, such as computers with internet connectivity or mobile phones. The types of offences investigated include accessing, sending or uploading child exploitation and abuse material.

Grooming and procuring of children over the internet is also investigated by the AFP. This is when an adult has made online contact with a child under the age of sixteen with the intention of facilitating a sexual relationship.

In April, 2010, the Australian Government introduced changes to legislation which increased the penalties applying to these offences. Australians who groom or procure a child for sexual activity overseas can be imprisoned for up to 15 years. The reforms also enhanced the coverage of offences for using a carriage service, such as the internet, for sexual activity with a child or for child abuse material.

AFP investigations may also focus on Internet sites carrying child abuse material and operated from an ISP in Australia. In cases where the site content is not hosted within Australia, the matter is referred to overseas law enforcement agencies.

If you know about a child who is in immediate danger or risk call 000, Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000, or contact your local police.

How to obtain information on Internet safety

ThinkUKnow LogoThe AFP encourages people to protect themselves and their children online. ThinkUKnow Australia is a partnership between the AFP, Microsoft, Datacom, Commonwealth Bank, State and Territory police and Neighbourhood Watch Australasia.

ThinkUKnow is a cyber safety program that uses a network of trained volunteers to deliver cyber safety presentations to parents, carers and teachers on how young people use technology, the challenges they might face and how to help them overcome these challenges.

ThinkUKnow provides cyber safety education to students, parents, carers and teachers through presentations delivered by a network of trained volunteers and members of law enforcement across Australia.

The ThinkUKnow website provides information and resources on cyber safety, an online booking tool for presentations, a function to report online abuse.

How to report suspicious behaviour online

Online suspicious behaviour may involve a person suspected of being an adult who has been having a conversation with a child online and is saying and doing inappropriate things or trying to meet up with the child in the real world. Young persons may also be lured into revealing personal information or images online.

Report child sexual exploitation in travel and tourismChildren, as well as adults acting on behalf of children, can report abuse or illegal activity online by using our online child sex exploitation form or by clicking on the "Report Abuse" button on the ThinkUKnow or VGT websites.

Your report will go directly to the AFP and contact may then be made with you.

Do not use this reporting form to report emergencies or concerns which require a high priority response, such as a child who is in immediate danger or risk. In those cases call 000, Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000 or your local police station.

Reporting by Internet Service Providers / Internet Content Hosts

The AFP works in partnership with Internet Service Providers (ISP) and Internet Content Hosts (ICH) in the battle against the sexual exploitation of children online.

If you are an ISP or ICH and have become aware of child exploitation or child abuse material on your server(s), then you are required to report this to the AFP. The Attorney General's website provides information on the Legislative responsibilities of ISPs and ICHs.

You may report matters by using our ISP/ICH online form.

Contact us

If you know about a child who is in immediate danger or risk call 000, Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000, or contact your local police.

Online Child Sex Exploitation Child Protection Operations
PO Box 401
Canberra City ACT 2602
Report: Online child sex exploitation form

National Security Hotline

Read the AFP Annual Report 2019-20

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation

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