The AFP has charged 877 alleged offenders with more than 7,000 child abuse offences since the launch of the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) five years ago.
Marking the anniversary of the ACCCE, the AFP and key stakeholders have reflected on the children they have removed from harm, the perpetrators who have been sentenced before courts and the prevention work delivered for the public.
Reports of online child sexual exploitation to the ACCCE have increased by more than 180 per cent since it launched in 2018.
AFP Commander ACCCE and Human Exploitation Commander Helen Schneider said the increased number of reports – 40,232 in the past financial year, up from 14,285 reports five years ago - reflected the scale of the horrific crime around the world.
The ACCCE was created with a vision to keep children free from exploitation and a mission to be coordinated and connected with partners to counter online child exploitation.
It brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into child sexual abuse and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.
Since its inception in September 2018, the ACCCE has been instrumental in the AFP’s fight to combat the exploitation of children and has contributed to significant success including:
- Removing 637 children from harm;
- Identifying 570 victims;
- Charging 877 alleged offenders with 7,029 offences;
- Triaging 135,385 reports, that have resulted in 2,565 referrals to law enforcement in Australia; and
- Developing 115 relationships with key stakeholders.
The ACCCE marks its anniversary each year at the time of National Child Protection Week, which this year commenced on Sunday (3 September) and aims to raise awareness of child protection.
Commander Schneider said members of the ACCCE were proud of the contributions they were making to protect children around the world from harm and bring to justice anyone involved in their exploitation.
“In the past financial year alone, the ACCCE has worked with state and territory law enforcement, as well as international and Commonwealth partners in operations targeting sextortion and sophisticated child abuse networks,” Commander Schneider said.
Nationally, the AFP charged 186 people with 925 child abuse-related offences in the 2022-2023 financial year.
In August, the AFP-led ACCCE revealed details of an investigation it coordinated into a sophisticated online child abuse network which resulted in 19 Australian men being charged and 13 Australian children being removed from harm.
In December 2022, the ACCCE, together with AUSTRAC, announced the closure of more than 500 Australian bank, financial services and digital currency accounts linked to offshore organised criminals sexually extorting Australian teenagers.
“None of this would be possible without our partners in government and non-government organisations, industry and law enforcement, both nationally and internationally,” Commander Schneider said.
“To deal with more than 135,000 reports in the past five years alone shows the scale of the problem we are facing as police – this equates to more than 2,250 reports each month on average.
“Each report may contain multiple images, videos and/or text, such as stories, of children being sexually assaulted or exploited for the sexual gratification or financial gain of offenders.
“While the topic of online child sexual exploitation can be confronting, now, more than ever, we need parents and caregivers to talk to their children about how they can be safe online.
“We need to work together to tackle the risks that our children face online, and prevent child sexual exploitation – during National Child Protection Week and every week.
“The ACCCE will continue to fight for a world where children are free from sexual exploitation.”
Members of the public who have any information about people involved in child abuse and exploitation are urged to call Crime stoppers on 1800 333 000.
You can also make a report online to the ACCCE via the Report Abuse button at www.accce.gov.au/report.
If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available, visit to learn more www.accce.gov.au/support
Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at ThinkUKnow, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation: www.thinkuknow.org.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.
Media enquiries: AFP Media: (02) 5126 9297