After three years of working as a pivotal member of the ACCCE and with 26 years of working to protect and rescue children from harm from around the world with Queensland Police, the ACCCE farewelled Detective Inspector Jon Rouse OAM on 2 December.
The impact Jon has had on the lives of children around the globe is immeasurable. The knowledge, expertise and engagement that he bought to the ACCCE has been outstanding and invaluable, he has contributed immensely to where the ACCCE is today - a global leader in countering child exploitation in a collaborative way.
Jon will be missed, not only by the AFP and ACCCE, but also by our valuable stakeholders, who had the opportunity to farewell him last week at an event in Brisbane.
“If I had to single out one thing that I am most proud of being involved in during my time at the ACCCE, it is the implementation and rollout of Australian Victim Identification Database (AVID),” Detective Inspector Jon Rouse said.
Jon commenced a project back in 2005 to establish the Australian National Victim Identification Database (ANVIL) and while working in the ACCCE, he has been able to see the database come to fruition at a national level with the AVID being embedded in the ACCCE.
“The database will be a legacy going forward for the next generations of investigators, particularly those that are working in the realm of victim identification. The database will help us save children.”
At his farewell, Commander Human Exploitation and ACCCE Hilda Sirec said that Jon’s contribution to the ACCCE has been immense.
“Jon’s work will go well beyond his years in retirement from the police force, to make a difference not only to children in Australia and around the world for decades to come, but also to law enforcement and investigators, nationally and internationally.
“Thanks to Jon’s dedication, his work has allowed greater collaboration at the global level. On behalf of the ACCCE, I would like to thank Jon for his contribution, passion, leadership and guidance in his role with the ACCCE. We wish Jon all the best for his retirement and future endeavours!” Commander Sirec said.
When reflecting on the difference in the child protection space since he started working in it 26 years ago, Jon says “it is night and day”.
“Right now the danger to children is greater than it has ever been and it has never been more important that parents understand the technology that is on the device that they are giving to their child and the way the child is using it.
“The evidence we have here at the ACCCE and particularly in the work we do in the Victim Identification Teams is that the proliferation and increase in self-produced sexual exploitation content by children - that’s children using that device to produce sexual abusive material in the sanctity and safety of their own home - is increasing exponentially.
“The trends that we are seeing now in the way that children are doing that, is it’s turning into sextortion. Offenders are capturing the content that children are producing and turning it against them. Children do not know where to go. We know they’re not talking to us, we know they’re not talking to parents.
“The best piece of advice I can give parents, carers and guardians as I depart the ACCCE is to sit down and have the conversation about the safe use of the device you are giving them. Explore the platforms they are using. Educate yourself. Create accounts on those platforms so that you know how they are set up and know how they can be made safe to use.
Jon has been working with the ACCCE since it was first launched, helping to provide advice and guidance as it unfolded. “Working with all of the fantastic people that have come through the doors [of the ACCCE] and seeing the results we achieved when we do something that results in a child being removed from harm are the things I am always going to reflect on.”
“For the ACCCE going into the future, the most important thing is always going to be our partnerships. I’d love to be able to look back in five years’ time and see that we have a greater international presence in the ACCCE. It’s those networks that are going to help us rescue children from harm,” he said.