WA man charged with nine online child abuse offenses

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This is a joint press release between the Australian Federal Police, Homeland Security Investigations and Western Australia Police Force

Editor’s note: Audio clips of AFP Detective Sergeant Ross Hinscliff are available via Hightail here

A 46-year-old man is due to appear in Perth Magistrates’ Court today (June 2, 2022) charged with nine offenses for allegedly possessing and sharing images and videos of child pornography.

The Western Australia Joint Child Exploitation Team (WA JACET) has arrested and charged the man, from the south-east suburb of Perth, following an investigation launched into the a referral from Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in the United States.

The report alleged that a WA internet user had shared child pornography material on a number of online social media platforms.

AFP investigators reportedly linked the 46-year-old to email addresses associated with social media accounts.

When WA JACET – which includes officers from AFP and WA Police – executed a search warrant at the man’s home on May 10, 2022, investigators reportedly found child pornography material on the mobile phones.

AFP Detective Sergeant Ross Hinscliff said the AFP, along with its international law enforcement partners, remained committed to protecting children.

“Anyone who watches this material is committing a crime and supporting a despicable industry that will abuse other children to satisfy demand,” he said.

HSI Australia Attaché Adam Parks said HSI commended WA JACET for their swift action on this referral.

“It sends a clear message that justice will come for those who seek to exploit our children, and further dispels the idea that there is a safe haven when this activity is carried out across international borders,” he said. .

The man was charged with:

  • Two counts of possession of child pornography accessed or obtained through a transportation service, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Two counts of using a transportation service to access child pornography, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Two counts of causing child pornography to be transmitted contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
  • Three counts of transmitting child pornography, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offenses is 15 years imprisonment.

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 about 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 if we provide an answer” at the community level”.

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

If you or someone you know is affected by child sexual abuse and online 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 can be found at www.thinkuknow.org.auan education program run by AFP and designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

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.

“But we will still need the help of the community to ensure that we are effective in identifying victims and perpetrators.

“If you have any information that would assist law enforcement, please contact the ACCCE at www.accce.gov.au/report.”

Media inquiries:

National media AFP: (02) 5126 9297

Washington State Police Force Media: (08) 9222 1011

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