This is a joint media release between the Australian Federal Police and Western Australia Police
A Perth man, 40, is expected to face Perth Magistrates Court today (23 September, 2022) charged with four child abuse offences.
The man was charged as part of a joint AFP Operation TAMWORTH and WA Police Operation PALOMAR child protection investigation which resulted in criminal charges against 45 people for a raft of child abuse offences.
Police identified the man after 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) in May 2022 about an individual in Western Australia allegedly uploading child abuse material to an online chat platform. AFP Investigators allegedly linked the man to the account.
The Western Australia Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team, comprising AFP and WA Police officers, executed a search warrant at the man's Nollamara home on 29 August 2022, where officers seized a mobile phone and laptop allegedly containing child abuse material. The electronic devices were seized for further forensic examination to identify any additional offending.
Detective Inspector Andrea Coleman said the AFP and its state, territory and international law enforcement partners remain committed to protecting our community's most vulnerable - our children.
"Anyone who views this material is enabling the harming of a child and helping prop up a vile global industry that will abuse more children to satisfy the demand," she said.
"Our message to offenders accessing or exchanging child abuse material online is that we will never stop investigating anyone responsible for spreading this abhorrent material and bringing them before the court."
The man was charged with:
One charge of possession of child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and One charge of transmitting child abuse material contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and Two charges of accessing child abuse material contrary to section 474.22 (1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code 1995(Cth).
The maximum penalty for each offence 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.
AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297
WA Police Force Media: (08) 9222 1011