AFP-led ACCCE enhances education for young people and families online

Mon 08-07-2024 13:23 pm AEST

The AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) is launching updated presentations for students and parents, carers and teachers as part of the award-winning AFP-led ThinkUKnow program.

ThinkUKnow is an evidence-based education program delivered nationally in partnership with state and territory police and industry to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

The updated presentations address topics including the importance of privacy, self-generated child abuse material, online grooming, sexual extortion and most importantly, help-seeking behaviours.

The AFP-led ACCCE Child Protection Triage Unit received 40,232 reports of online child sexual exploitation in the 2022-23 financial year, up from 36,600 the year before.

In the 2022-23 financial year, ThinkUKnow presentations were delivered to 17,756 parents, carers, and teachers and more than 2515 presentations were delivered to an estimated 209,544 students across Australia.

The updates to the ThinkUKnow presentations are informed by current research in the areas of education and child wellbeing, intelligence, case studies and real-life reports made to the ACCCE, AFP Child Protection Operations and Joint Anti Child Exploitation Teams around the country.

The content was reviewed by subject matter experts and tested with students to ensure the presentations provided appropriate information to children and young people to help prevent online child sexual exploitation.

AFP Commander Human Exploitation Helen Schneider, from the ACCCE, said it was vital for education programs to be evidence-based and to keep pace with technology.

“The threats to children and young people online, how they are targeted and how they can protect themselves is always changing and our education programs have to adapt and change with the online environment,” Commander Schneider said.

“These presentations aim to help children and young people, parents and carers to face the online challenges of today, to protect them into tomorrow.”

The ACCCE’s Online Child Safety Team updates the ThinkUKnow presentations every two years to ensure the content is current and reflects the issues children and young people are facing online.

ThinkUKnow has more than 1200 volunteers and presenters from state and territory police, AFP and industry partners, which are the Commonwealth Bank, Datacom, Microsoft and Neighbourhood Watch Australasia.

Commander Schneider said the presenters and volunteers were a key part of the success of the ThinkUKnow program.

“The ThinkUKnow presenters and volunteers make all of this possible, without them we would not have been able to deliver presentations to parents, carers, teachers and students across Australia,” Commander Schneider said.

“I can’t thank them enough for all of their hard work and dedication to educating children and families on how to stay safe online.

“The continued requests for ThinkUKnow presentations in schools to students and to parents and carers highlights the need for online safety education for the Australian community.”

The program is delivered to parents, carers, and teachers by industry and law enforcement volunteers, and to children and young people by AFP and state and territory police.

The presentations focus on educating the community about online child sexual exploitation, with updated information on the issues on self-generated child abuse material, online grooming, sexual extortion and, importantly, where to get help and support.

Student presentations are available from Foundation to Year 12 and are tailored to educate students on the safety issues each age group might face online.

The presentations have been linked to the current Australian Curriculum to ensure they are age-appropriate and relevant to students’ learning.

Presentations for students, and parents and carers can be booked by schools and community groups at the ThinkUKnow website.

It comes after the AFP and eSafety launched a suite of new education resources to help culturally and linguistically diverse families have important conversations about online child safety.

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at the ThinkUKnow website.

ThinkUKnow is an award-winning program, having won the bronze award at the 2023 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards.

The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping online child sexual exploitation, 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 online child sexual exploitation are urged to contact the ACCCE. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.

If you or someone you know is impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation, support services are available.

For more information on the role of the ACCCE, what is online child sexual exploitation and how to report it visit the ACCCE website.

Note to media


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.