New online child safety animations to help educate community

Wed 07-09-2022 14:18 pm AEST

Animations released this week by the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) aim to give the Australian community a better understanding of online child sexual exploitation.

The short animations, being released in National Child Protection Week, were developed to address the need for more educational resources on this complex crime type, which is often not spoken about.

Market research has shown that only 52 per cent of parents openly talk to their children about online safety and 38 per cent of people aged 8-17 admitted to talking to strangers online.

These animations aim to increase awareness and understanding around online safety for children and the ACCCE is encouraging the Australian community to start talking about online child safety from an early age.

The first animation titled ‘What is the ACCCE’ explains the purpose of the AFP-led ACCCE, how it functions and how it collaborates across government and non-government organisations to combat online child sexual exploitation.

The second animation ‘What is Online Child Sexual Exploitation’ explains the nature and severity of the issue, as well as providing explanations of different forms of online child sexual exploitation including online grooming and sexual extortion.

The final animation ‘How to report Online Child Sexual Exploitation’ outlines the process for reporting online crimes against children, and explains the role of law enforcement and other agencies involved in combating the abuse of children in the online space.

Commander ACCCE and Human Exploitation Hilda Sirec said the animation series aims to raise awareness and prevent online child sexual exploitation from happening to families.   

“ACCCE research has shown 21 percent of parents and carers think online child sexual exploitation is too repulsive and sickening to think about,” Commander Sirec said. “Child protection is everyone’s responsibility."

“Combatting this crime starts with awareness. We’re asking the Australian community to watch these short animations and to start educating themselves.”

“Online child sexual exploitation is a serious issue, and unfortunately many parents and carers don’t know how to explain the severity of the crime to their children, or where to turn for advice and support."

“These animations are each about three minutes long, and aim to support families, so they can actively engage in a conversation with their children. The series answers calls from the public to clarify where to make a report and who investigates different aspects of online crimes.”  

Commander Sirec said often children thought they were talking to a new friend online, when it could be a man or women of any age grooming them to gain their trust.

“While talking to a ’friend’ online may seem innocent at first, a child can be groomed in a matter of minutes,” she said.

“Grooming often leads to more severe types of exploitation such as sexual extortion where we’re seeing concerning trends.”

Last year the ACCCE received more than 33,000 reports of online child sexual exploitation and each report can contain hundreds or thousands of images and videos.  

The animations are available to view on the ACCCE resources page.

If you or someone you know are impacted by online child sexual exploitation there are support services available at accce.gov.au/support.

Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at thinkuknow.org.au, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.