A NSW man appeared in Kempsey Local Court today (5 May 2023) charged with multiple online child abuse offences.
The investigation began when the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a report from the United States’ Homeland Security Investigations (HSI). It alleged an Australian national was contacting children in the United States to produce and share child abuse material.
AFP investigators allegedly linked a man from the NSW mid-north coast, 27, to the illegal online activity.
A search warrant was executed at the man’s Kempsey home on 4 May 2023, with investigators allegedly finding child abuse material on an electronic device. The device will be subject to further forensic examination.
It is alleged the man had direct message conversations with a child under 16, which indicate the man sent money to the child in exchange for self-generated child abuse videos and photos.
The man was arrested and taken to Kempsey Police Station where he was charged with multiple child abuse offences.
AFP Detective Acting Sergeant Adam Barcham said sexual images taken by a person under the age of 18 are considered child abuse material.
“Children can be groomed into producing child abuse material and sharing sexualised images and videos of themselves with child predators they’ve spoken to online,” D-Acting Sgt Barcham said.
“It is important parents start open conversations with their children about the content they are sharing online. If your child is in imminent risk, call Triple Zero. You can also report any instances to police by calling 131 444, Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation at www.accce.gov.au/report.”
HSI Regional Attaché Ernest Verina said, “HSI is committed to protecting children and works tirelessly to target and identify anyone who seeks to harm them.”
“HSI values the unwavering partnership and the significant work the Australian Federal Police do in protecting children around the world.”
The man was charged with:
- One count of using a carriage service to transmit indecent communication to person under 16 years of age, contrary to section 474.27A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
- One count of cause child abuse material to be transmitted to self, using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(ii) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);
- Two counts of possess or control child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and
- One count of using a carriage service to procure persons under 16 years of age (with sender), contrary to section 474.26(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
The maximum penalty for the first offence is 10 years’ imprisonment, with the remainder each being a maximum penalty of 15 years’ imprisonment.
The man was granted bail under strict conditions, to next appear in Kempsey Local Court on 19 July 2023.
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 are urged to contact the ACCCE at www.accce.gov.au/report. 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 at www.accce.gov.au/support.
Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety. 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.
For more information on the role of the ACCCE, what is online child sexual exploitation and how to report it visit www.accce.gov.au.
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 Media: (02) 5126 9297