Victorian man jailed for material offenses of child abuse

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A Victoria man has been jailed for 1 year and 2 months for child abuse-related offenses following an investigation by the Joint Victoria Child Exploitation Team (JACET).

The St Kilda man, 48, was sentenced today (August 19) by Melbourne Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to three counts relating to possession, conveyance and online access to child pornography.

The investigation began when the Australian Center for Combating Child Exploitation (ACCCE), run by the Australian Federal Police, received a report from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) regarding an online user transmitting child pornography on a messaging application.

Investigators from Victoria JACET, which includes officers from AFP and Victoria Police, linked the man to the account.

A search warrant was executed at the man’s home on October 29, 2021 and investigators seized two cell phones, a laptop and several USB storage devices.

The man was found guilty of the following charges:

  • Possessing child pornography accessible through a carrier service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Transmitting child pornography using a carrier service, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Using a carrier service to access child pornography, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

AFP Senior Agent (S/C) Mark Sharer said the AFP never wavered in its commitment to investigate and prosecute those allegedly involved in the sexual exploitation or abuse of children.

“This work can be heartbreaking, but our investigators are relentless in their pursuit of anyone producing, accessing or sharing child pornography material, and they will follow up on any information to bring these individuals to justice,” S/C Sharer said.

“This investigation is another example of AFP’s expertise and commitment to helping protect children around the world from online predators.”

The man was sentenced to a total effective sentence of 14 months in prison. He was ordered released after serving 4 months in prison on a recognizance order.

AFP and its partners are committed to ending the exploitation and abuse of children and the ACCCE is leading a collaborative national approach to address child abuse.

The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in one central hub, supporting investigations of online child sexual exploitation and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.

Members of the public who have information about those involved in child abuse and exploitation are asked to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.accce.gov.au/report. If you know abuse is happening at the moment or a child is in danger, call the police immediately on 000.

Research by the ACCCE in 2020 found that only around half of parents talk to their children about online safety.

An award-winning podcast launched last year by the ACCCE “Closing The Net” strives to change that, showing that knowledge is power and that our only chance to help prevent this problem is to provide an answer” to the whole community”. .

The podcast series offers valuable advice and tips on how to keep children safe online. Listen to the Closing The Net podcast on your favorite streaming platform.

If you or someone you know is affected by online child sexual abuse and exploitation, support services are available at www.accce.gov.au/support.

Advice and support for parents and guardians on how they can help protect children online is available at www.thinkuknow.org.au, an educational program run by AFP and designed to prevent sexual exploitation kids online.

Note to media:

Use of the term ‘CHILD ABUSE’ MATERIAL AND NOT ‘CHILD PORNOGRAPHY’

The correct legal term is Child Abuse Material – the move to this wording was part of amendments to Commonwealth legislation in 2019 to more accurately reflect the seriousness of the crimes and the harm inflicted on victims.

The use of the term “child pornography” is inaccurate and benefits child sex offenders because it:

  • indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the aggressor; and
  • conjures up images of children posing in “provocative” positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Each photograph or video captures a real situation where a child has been abused.

Media inquiries

AFP media: (02) 5126 9297

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