Tue, 05 Jul 2022

Sunshine Coast man charged with possessing child abuse material

Australian Federal Police
24 Jun 2022, 16:04 GMT+10

A man from Queensland's Sunshine Coast has been charged with three counts of child abuse material-related offences by the AFP Brisbane Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET).

The Birtinya man, 43 is expected to appear in Maroochydore Magistrates Court today, 24 June 2022.

The investigation began in May 2022 when the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a report from the United States' National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about an online user uploading child abuse material using Yahoo and Google accounts.

Investigators from the AFP Brisbane JACET allegedly linked the Birtinya man to the associated accounts.

A search warrant was executed at the man's home on 18 May 2022 with investigators seizing a laptop, mobile phone, USB and printed images. The digital devices will now be subject to further forensic examination.

AFP Sergeant Bianca Warland said the AFP, together with its state and territory law enforcement partners, remained committed to protecting children.

"Anyone who views this material is committing a crime,'' Sergeant Warland said.

"This is not a victimless crime. Children are not commodities to be used for the abhorrent gratification of sexual predators."

The man was charged with:

Using a carriage service to transmit child pornography material, contrary to section 474.19(1)(a)(iii) Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); Possessing child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); Possessing child exploitation material, contrary to section 228D of the Criminal Code 1899 (Qld).

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

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the ACCCE 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.

Media enquiries

AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297

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