Newsletter December 2022

Commander Hilda Sirec
Commander Hilda Sirec

Foreword Commander Sirec

As the year comes to a close, I reflect on how imperative partnerships are to the ACCCE, both at the national and international level, for us to be successful in combatting this borderless crime. 

One person in particular who has played a key role in enhancing partnerships at the ACCCE has been Detective Inspector Jon Rouse APM who concluded his secondment with the ACCCE on 2 December. Jon will retire from Queensland Police Service in June next year after more than 37 years of police service, 26 of those years dedicated to child protection. Jon is one of the most highly respected child protection advocates, recognised all over Australia and the world. The ACCCE was privileged to have Jon for the last three years, delivering so many incredible initiatives that contribute to saving children, and we wish him all the best for his future endeavours. 

We have leveraged our domestic and international partnerships as part of the national disruption strategy for Operation Huntsman. On 1 December, alongside AUSTRAC National Manager, Law Enforcement and Industry, Jon Brewer, I briefed the media on the disruption efforts, including the action taken to shut down more than 500 Australian bank, financial services and digital currency accounts linked to offshore organised criminals sexually extorting Australia teenagers. Alongside this operational activity, we are also continuing our efforts to increase awareness of this trend, including by contacting every high school in Australia with an online safety message. I urge all ACCCE stakeholders to share our sextortion prevention and reporting messages in your own communities. 

This quarter, the ACCCE partnered with AFP’s ThinkUKnow program to launch a children’s book called Jack Changes the Game. It’s a first-of-its-kind for law enforcement and an important tool for parents, carers and educators to start conversations with kids about being safe online. I’m proud to say the book is now being delivered to every primary school across Australia.  

The ACCCE welcomed our partners from universities, government and non-government agencies across the country at the first Disrupting Child Sexual Exploitation (DICE) symposium event in November. The DICE aims to develop a multi-agency response which pivots the focus of intervention to the sexual exploitation predators who target vulnerable young people in statutory care. Four key themes were discussed including prevention, intervention, response and reform during key knowledge translation sessions.  

I was pleased to join a large cohort of AFP and ACCCE members who took part in Walk for Daniel in October. The event was led by our partners Bruce and Denise Morcombe, and raises awareness for child safety, with this year’s theme being brave conversations.  

In November, we welcomed several key visitors to the ACCCE including David Coyle from the United Kingdom National Crime Agency, and Mongolian Member of Parliament, Mrs B. Bayarsaikhan. These visits are always a great opportunity to either develop or further cement our international partnerships, and discuss what we can do to work collaboratively to combat child sexual exploitation globally.  

To ensure our collaboration efforts continue at the international level, my colleagues and I recently attended several overseas events. At the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) in the United Arab Emirates, we discussed the role that VGT plays to improve the international response to child sexual abuse within specific work streams. I also had the privilege to host a side event at the Conference of the Parties (COP11) to the United Nationals Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC). The conference was an opportunity to highlight the important work Australia engages in within the transnational organised crime space, particularly countering child sexual exploitation and abuse.  

Victim Identification (VID) Specialist Laura Smith is our final ‘Face of the ACCCE’ for 2022. We are so fortunate to have Laura who brings a wealth of international experience and relationships with her to the ACCCE. Laura shares what it’s like working as a VID specialist, and how she continues to grow her knowledge within this crime type.   

As we near the holiday season, I wish you all safe travels and enjoyable times ahead with loved ones.  



AFP and AUSTRAC partner to target offshore sextortion syndicates

press conference on sextortion

Earlier this month we announced that more than 500 Australian bank, financial services and digital currency accounts linked to offshore organised criminals sexually extorting Australian teenagers, have been shut down under the AFP-led Operation Huntsman. 

The AFP and the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (AUSTRAC), working with the financial sector, have facilitated the closure of the bank accounts, which are held in Australia but are linked to international organised crime syndicates. 

Operation Huntsman started in June 2022 and targets Australian-based sextortion bank accounts, which are sending money from distressed victims to offshore syndicates. The AFP is extremely concerned about this trend, which has been linked to instances of self-harm in Australia and overseas.

ACCCE and Human Exploitation Commander Hilda Sirec said data showed more than 90 per cent of victims were male and predominantly 15-17 years of age, however police had seen victims as young as 10 years old. 

“We are experiencing a global trend of offshore crime syndicates targeting teenagers, predominantly young men and boys, being coercing into sending sexually explicit content and then blackmailing them,” Commander Sirec said. 

“The financial action that we have undertaken with Operation Huntsman so far is just the beginning; we will target and disrupt these offenders operating offshore, wherever they hide. 

“The AFP’s partnership with AUSTRAC and our relationship with international law enforcement partners all over the world means these networks are not safe from our reach.” 

In parallel with this operational activity, the ACCCE, in collaboration with the AFP’s Online Child Safety Team, are delivering a communication, education and outreach plan to address the sextortion threat to Australian youth. This is through a multi-faceted approach, leveraging industry, mental health support services and stakeholders to ensure Australian youth are protected and supported.  

The ACCCE has received on average more than 100 reports of this type of sextortion every month this year, which is a 100-fold increase from the past year. Police fear the true number of victims in Australia is much higher with conservative estimates indicating that less than a quarter of minors report to authorities. 

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Jack Changes the Game launched to stakeholders

Kelly Humphries, Jayne Crossling and Hilda Sirec
Reference group member Kelly Humphries with Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling and Commander Hilda Sirec on 4 October 2022


The AFP ThinkUKnow program in partnership with the AFP-led ACCCE launched a new children’s picture book to stakeholders in October. 

The book Jack Changes the Game  has been developed to support parents, carers and teachers in discussing some issues around online safety. It is a first-of-its-kind for law enforcement, based on a report made to the ACCCE. It gives an insight with age-appropriate advice about online grooming and how parents can take action if something goes wrong. 

ACCCE and Human Exploitation Commander Hilda Sirec said raising awareness and educating the community about online child sexual exploitation is central to protecting children from harm.   

“It is my hope that this book starts conversations across Australia about recognising the signs of online grooming, how to get help, and making a report to police. And from those conversations we can start to destigmatise this crime type and work together as a community to help protect children online.” 

“Through December the book is being distributed to every primary school in Australia. I would like to acknowledge the important role educators play in helping our children learn about being safe.  

Written by notable children’s author Tess Rowley and illustrated by Shannon Horsfall, Jack Changes the Game  takes a child’s perspective to online grooming, the challenges they face and why it’s important to talk to a trusted adult if they encounter any problems online.  

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ACCCE farewells a wealth of knowledge and expertise

Jon Rouse farewell
Detective Inspector Jon Rouse OAM farewelled at the ACCCE on 2 December 2022.


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 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, ACCCE and Human Exploitation Commander 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.   

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ACCCE engagement

Members of Parliament observe capabilities

MPs with K9
Acting Assistant Commissioner Northern Command Stephen Dametto, Senator The Hon Helen Polley, Ms Louise Miller-Frost MP, Senator David Shoebridge, Mr Dan Repacholi MP and Commander Hilda Sirec visited the AFP Majura Complex on 15 November 2022


Members of the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement (PJCLE) visited the AFP Majura Complex in November to better understand and see in action some of the capabilities the AFP has in combatting online child sexual abuse. The visit followed a hearing at Parliament House during which acting Assistant Commissioner Dametto and Commander Sirec spoke about the ACCCE and AFP’s work in protecting children online.

A number of subject matter experts gave presentations and demonstrations on capabilities such as Digital Forensics, Facial Recognition Tools, Victim Identification and Technology Detection Dogs.

The Committee members were highly engaged and articulated their appreciation for the difficult work that the AFP does. Seeing in person the AFP’s digital forensic capabilities gave a new appreciation of the complex range of investigative tools used to keep Australians safe.

Of particular interest was the Victim Identification session where the Committee members learnt about the work that is being done domestically and with global law enforcement partners to ensure children are free from exploitation.

DICE Symposium held at the ACCCE

DICE Symposium
DICE Symposium attendees discussing collaboration opportunities on 14 November 2022.​​​​​


In November, the ACCCE hosted the Disrupting Child Exploitation (DICE) Symposium led by Melbourne University in partnership with ACCCE, Bravehearts and the Department of Social Services.  

The DICE project aims to develop a multi-agency response which pivots the focus of intervention to the sexual exploitation predators who target vulnerable young people in statutory care.

The project will run for three years and a symposium will be held each year with a different theme, in a different location. This year’s theme was Collaboration. 

More than 100 people attended the event in person or online.

Cathy Humphries, Professor of Social Work at Monash University spoke positively about the success of the event.

“The knowledge translation discussions throughout the day were rich and insightful with all the presentations and the symposium itself highlighting the strengths and benefits of multi-agency collaboration,” Professor Humphries said.

Julie Green, Research Assistant from Melbourne University said “The attendance, both in-person and online, was amazing and we are so grateful and humbled by your enthusiasm and interest in the DICE project.”

The DICE project emerged out of the Respecting Sexual Safety action research project, a collaboration between MacKillop Family Services and the University of Melbourne to prevent child sexual abuse in out-of-home care.

One of the findings that emerged through the Respecting Sexual Safety project is that close collaboration between police, child protection workers and residential care staff is fundamental to preventing sexual exploitation but that this kind of collaboration is underdeveloped.

The expected outcome of the DICE project will be an improved, evidence-informed multi-agency response to children living in residential care experiencing sexual exploitation that can potentially be upscaled across other Australian jurisdictions.

International partnerships essential in a crime with no borders

The ACCCE attended the second national Victim Identification conference ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ hosted by the UK Home Office in October. Team Leader of the ACCCE Victim Identification Unit (VIU), Detective Sergeant Lana Palmer and AFP Senior Liaison Officer Detective Superintendent Stephen Jay represented the AFP and ACCCE at the conference.

Detective Sergeant Palmer presented on ‘the ACCCE and the Australian approach to victim identification’ at the conference alongside presenters from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, US Homeland Security, INTERPOL, the National Crime Authority and the UK Regional Organised Crime Unit.

The delegation met with the Metropolitan Police Online Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation team to discuss processes for receiving and actioning incoming reports of online child exploitation, the ACCCE triage and investigation process and the victim identification process, including how information is received and categorised.

The delegation travelled to France to meet with the French National Police and Gendarmerie who work in the Online Child Abuse Team attached to the Central Office for Repression of Violence against Persons in Paris.

“This Online Child Abuse Team is a key partner for us in the child exploitation space. We have made a number of referrals to them, and the team was very interested to learn about how the ACCCE was formed and how it operates, including an understanding of both the technical and administrative challenges,” Detective Sergeant Palmer said.

During the visit, a number of victim identification initiatives were discussed, including the online victim identification awareness training that was developed by the ACCCE VIU.

“The visit was a great way to see first-hand how other countries are responding to the increasing amount of referrals of online child abuse, and the importance of close relationships between operational units, as well as national and international partners,” Detective Sergeant Palmer said.

“Despite being thousands of kilometres apart, it was encouraging to see both the UK and French law enforcement (as well as US and Canadian law enforcement agencies) are experiencing similar challenges in the online child abuse space, and responding in a similar manner,” Detective Sergeant Palmer said.

“It was also a great opportunity to meet some of the police officers who have recently actioned referrals from the ACCCE and hear first-hand how the cases are progressing.”

International Child Sexual Exploitation (ICSE) database contribution

Commissioner with Interpol
AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw presenting INTERPOL Secretary General Mr Jürgen Stock with a copy of the AFP’s recently released book Jack Changes the Game’.


AFP Commissioner Reece Kershaw met with INTERPOL Secretary General Mr Jürgen Stock in November to announce the AFP’s $815,000 contribution to INTERPOL’s International Child Sexual Exploitation Database (ICSE).

The ICSE is a ground-breaking tool to advance child exploitation investigations through strengthened global information sharing. The AFP’s funding is delivered under the Australian Government’s National Strategy to Prevent and Respond to Child Sexual Abuse.

The AFP is delivering a range of initiatives under the National Strategy to enhance law enforcement capabilities and operational efforts and to drive a collaborative national response to counter the exploitation of children.

Commissioner Kershaw said the AFP’s partnership with INTERPOL to support the upgrade of the database highlights the commitment of law enforcement to protect children around the world, while bringing offenders to justice. “We know we can’t win this important battle alone. Child protection investigations will be bolstered, avoiding duplication of effort by triaging online child exploitation material multiple times in multiple jurisdictions,” he said.

“This specialised tool means our investigators will be faster and more efficient than ever before, allowing them to quickly target, track and disrupt those seeking to harm and exploit children around the world - and most importantly, bring them to justice.”

“The AFP is proud to partner with INTERPOL, along with our state, Commonwealth and international law enforcement counterparts, to combat this insidious crime.”

The enhanced database is expected to significantly fast track the high volume of work undertaken by victim identification specialists, through integration of the latest technologies for improved text, audio and video analysis, facial recognition, and artificial intelligence.

INTERPOL Secretary General Mr Jürgen Stock said, “The AFP’s decision to provide this funding underlines its strong and unwavering commitment to child protection, as well as its confidence in INTERPOL’s ICSE database which is a vital policing tool.

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Partner news

It’s Never Too Late – Australian Childhood Foundation launch new campaign


The Australian Childhood Foundation (ACF) has released a new resource - It's never too late - to help empower adults with the knowledge and confidence to act to keep children and young people safe from abuse and exploitation in all the environments within which they interact.

The microsite is dedicated to helping adults better understand the issue of online child sexual abuse and exploitation, identify the signs and take actionable steps to support the children and young people in their lives. Importantly, the site also explains the concept of safety circles and helps adults understand where they may sit in a child or young person's safety circles.

Claire's story is an animated case study, narrated by ACF Ambassador Georgie Parker, that illustrates just how easily online child sexual abuse and exploitation can occur.

In recent research conducted by ACF, 71 per cent of children were found to spend more time on the internet on their own. As a result, more than a third of parents were worried about how to best protect them from being exploited. Without knowledge and awareness, adults are not confident about knowing how and when to act to protect children from online abuse and exploitation, leaving them vulnerable and unsafe.

Day for Daniel 2022

Day for Daniel
ACCCE members supporting Day for Daniel 

The AFP and the ACCCE proudly supported Day for Daniel 2022 by wearing red and participating in the annual walk to raise awareness for child safety.

This year’s theme was brave conversations. The Foundation encouraged parents, carers and educators to start a conversation with children and young people about personal safety. New video resources were made available for Day for Daniel education.  

In the capacity of acting Assistant Commissioner Northern Command Hilda Sirec (A/ACNC) and acting Commander ACCCE and Human Exploitation Jayne Crossling, joined a large cohort of AFP and ACCCE members to participate in the walk at the Sunshine Coast, led by Bruce and Denise Morcombe.

The acting Assistant Commissioner Sirec reiterated the Foundation’s call for brave conversations. “Every parent and carer needs to have that brave conversation and not feel uncomfortable by it. It is important. Those brave conversations help keep children and young people in your care safe and empowered to seek help and support when it is needed,” acting Assistant Commissioner Sirec said.

There are a number of resources available for parents and carers to help guide brave conversations. The AFP and ACCCE recently released a new book, Jack Changes the Game, which has been created for adults to start age-appropriate conversations with primary school-aged children (5–8 years-old) about being safer online.

ThinkUKnow delivers virtual training


The AFP’s Online Child Safety Team (OCST) is continuing to deliver ThinkUKnow presentation training to presenters and volunteers.

The OCST delivered virtual training sessions throughout October and November. The sessions were attended by a large number of presenters and volunteers and were extremely well received.

The ThinkUKnow program offers a presentation for students, and a presentation for parents, carers and educators, and both were covered during the training. The parent, carer and educator presentations are delivered by law enforcement and industry volunteers. This presentation aims to give a broad scope of online activities that children may be participating in. Topics discussed in this presentation include young people and technology, online challenges and taking action. All ThinkUKnow presentations are informed by reports to the ACCCE.

The student presentations are delivered by State and Territory police, where the program begins at the Kindergarten/ Prep/ Foundation level and progresses through the year levels up to years 11 and 12. Each presentation has been developed in accordance with the Australian Curriculum to ensure the messaging is correct and is age-appropriate. This presentation offers positive engagement between young people and law enforcement while promoting safe online behaviours.

Training is an essential part to the ThinkUKnow program as it ensures that presenters and volunteers are up-to-date with key educational messaging and the newest content from ThinkUKnow.

For more information and resources about preventing online child sexual exploitation or to request a presentation, visit

Leading academics and subject matter experts in child protection come together

AIC conference
Conference keynote speaker Garner Clancey, Associate Professor of Criminology, University of Sydney


The Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) held its annual conference in Canberra in October. The conference, opened by the Honourable Dr Andrew Leigh MP, brought together policymakers, practitioners and academics working in the crime and justice sector to discuss contemporary issues affecting Australia and covered a range of topics, including youth justice, online child exploitation, domestic violence and countering violent extremism.

The conference provided an excellent opportunity for ACCCE attendees to upskill and collaborate around the latest research and trends from leading academics and subject matter experts within the child protection space.

Presentation themes included the overlap between online child sexual exploitation and other harmful behaviours, approaches to tackling sexual violence and livestreaming of child sexual abuse.

Highlights included presentations around:

  • the mutual benefit for universities to partner with criminal justice agencies

  • the development of automated software tools that leverage biometric information of both face and voice to match victims and offenders across Child Sexual Abuse Material (CSAM) to provide enhanced investigatory capabilities

  • examining the crossover between domestic violence, coercive control and CSAM offending

  • exploring machine learning for estimating risk, vulnerability, and

  • the prevalence of Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking.

As part of the conference, the Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards were held. These Awards recognise best practice in the prevention and reduction of violence and other types of crime in Australia and play a vital role in highlighting effective community-based initiatives to prevent crime and violence before it actually occurs.

“We are proud to recognise more than 1,100 projects. Their work has encouraged safer communities and contributes to stopping crime before it occurs,” AIC Deputy Director Dr Rick Brown said.

“I congratulate those who were awarded and thank you for your valuable service to your communities and to the broader Australian public.”

A list of the Award winners is available at the AIC website.

Virtual Global Taskforce meet in United Arab Emirates

VGT meet in the UAE
Commander ACCCE and Human Exploitation, Hilda Sirec and Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling with members of the Virtual Global Taskforce


Commander ACCCE and Human Exploitation, Hilda Sirec and Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling travelled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in November to attend the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT).

The VGT seeks to deliver innovative, global strategies in order to safeguard children online. An action item following on from the VGT is to develop a model response to Transnational Child Sex Offenders.

The VGT was established in 2003 as a direct response to lessons learned from investigations into online child sexual abuse around the world. The child sexual abuse threat is a global one, which readily crosses national boundaries, particularly online.

The VGT consists of representatives from the AFP, UK National Crime Authority, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Child Exploitation Online Protection, New Zealand Police, Dutch National Police, Europol, Ministry of Interior United Arab Emirates, ICE Homeland Security Investigations, Columbian National Police, INTERPOL, Korean National Police Agency, Philippines National Police and US Federal Bureau of Investigations.

Parliamentary screening of Children in the Pictures

IJM Chief Advocacy Officer Amy Smith, Julie Inman-Grant, The Hon Mark Dreyfus, Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling, Dr Rick Brown and IJM Chief Executive Officer Steve Baird. 


The Attorney-General The Hon Mark Dreyfus KC MP and Shadow Minister for Communications, Sarah Henderson MP co-hosted a parliamentary screening of The Children in the Pictures in November in conjunction with the International Justice Mission (IJM).

Panel members came together to share their expertise including ACCCE Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling, the eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman-Grant, Australian Institute of Criminology Deputy Director, Dr Rick Brown, Jones Day lawyer Leah Ratcliff and IJM Australia Chief Executive Officer, Steve Baird.

In addressing the attendees, the Attorney-General welcomed his parliamentary colleagues, agency heads, the eSafety Commissioner and law enforcement noting that the film they will see will “demonstrate that online child sexual exploitation and abuse is becoming increasingly prevalent, organised and extreme.”

“Although the documentary began filming several years ago, the issues it raises and the challenges for law enforcement are unfortunately even more relevant today,” the Attorney-General said.

“While law enforcement methods have evolved, we continue to grapple with new and innovative technologies that facilitate and hide the sexual abuse of children... Enablers such as anonymising technologies pose significant challenges to law enforcement, making it even harder to detect and disrupt offenders and rescue children from these horrific crimes.

“The AFP’s world-leading Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation is at the forefront of combatting child exploitation in Australia and coordinates national effort to prevent child sexual abuse.”

“I would like to acknowledge the incredible efforts of our front-line workers; the value of your work cannot be overstated, especially given the personal costs this line of work can have on you,” he said.

ACCCE news

Happy Families podcast appearance


One of Australia’s most trusted parenting experts and host of the Happy Families podcast, Dr Justin Coulson recently spoke to AFP Detective Superintendent Jayne Crossling about the increasing sextortion trend being seen by the ACCCE and what the Australian community can do to help keep children safe online.

The episode features a case Dr Coulson received from a listener whose teenage son came to her distressed, asking for $500 after sending an intimate image of himself to someone who he thought was a girl of his age. The person he sent the image to then asked for money or threated to share the image to his contacts.

“This is sextortion, and this scenario is precisely what the ACCCE is seeing across Australia and working hard to raise awareness about. An estimated 100 children, at times with their families, are coming forward to Australian authorities per month,” Detective Superintendent Crossling said.

The majority of victims are males (92 per cent) in the reports received by the ACCCE, although it is thought that sextortion in children is significantly under reported.

“My message to Dr Coulson in his podcast was simple - the ACCCE wants to increase awareness of this trend, encourage reporting and ensure there is adequate support for victims of this crime. We want to reach into the hearts and minds of young people so that they know the signs and how to detect when this scam is playing out in front of them,” Detective Superintendent Crossling said.

The podcast is available here.

The ThinkUKnow sextortion response kit is available here.

PartnerSPEAK progressing workshops around the nation

PartnerSPEAK deliver training
PartnerSPEAK CEO Natalie Walker with WA Police Service Detective Senior Constable Lauren Brigden of WA Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team


Under Proceeds of Crime (POCA) funding, PartnerSPEAK has been conducting workshops across Australia with law enforcement agencies, in particular the Joint Anti Child Exploitation Teams.

The workshops have been very successful, providing insights into the services available through PartnerSPEAK for Affected Family Members (AFM).

Natalie spoke about some of the learnings from the workshops. “Officers found it incredibly helpful to hear the experiences directly from the family members. It’s not something they can easily obtain in the field.

“One attendee said the workshop reinforced the importance of timely communication to victims and family members and how PartnerSPEAK can assist police with this.

“PartnerSPEAK is not a service law enforcement across Australia have been able to refer AFM to, prior to the POCA support for a trial of the service nationally,” Natalie said.

In October, Commander ACCCE and Human Exploitation Hilda Sirec spoke at the PartnerSPEAK Annual General Meeting. "Protecting non-offending partners and affected family members is fundamental to our role in law enforcement and as police offices looking after our community.

“PartnerSPEAK's training teaches us how to respond to families in a more trauma informed way. This is vital for our members as some describe the impact on non-offending partners and affected family members as being like a wrecking ball on the family. The information provided by PartnerSPEAK and their referral pathway is so useful when we are faced with the traumatised family of the offender."

International training instructors hosted at the ACCCE

International Training
Front row: Brian Lynn, Special Agent Schiller Salomon, Acting Assistant Commissioner Northern Command, Hilda Sirec and Special Agent Jim Goodyear. In the background are the training participants from multiple police jurisdictions. 


The AFP ACCCE Training and Design Team was privileged to host international training instructors to the ACCCE in October 2022, to upskill investigators in cutting edge training techniques to combat child sexual exploitation offences committed online.

The instructors successfully delivered a nine-day train-the-trainer program to twenty participants from AFP, Queensland Police Service, New South Wales Police Force, Tasmanian Police, Victorian Police, South Australia Police, Western Australia Police, Northern Territory Police and New Zealand Police.

It provided an opportunity for participants to build cross agency relationships and engage in face-to-face training to enhance their technical skills and knowledge.

At the end of the second week, training was delivered in person and online to approximately 70 members across Australia in software tools to be used in the field by child protection officers to assist in locating evidence in real time.

Face of the ACCCE: Laura Smith

Tell us about your role in the ACCCE

I am a Victim Identification Specialist working in the ACCCE Victim Identification Unit, and have been with the team for almost three years. Our team works to identify victims of child sexual abuse and exploitation. We do this via detailed analysis of images and videos that depict this abuse, which we consider a crime scene.

What are some of the areas you have worked in the AFP?

I started working in the AFP in 2013 and have stayed in Child Protection Operations my whole AFP career. It’s a crime type I’m passionate about specialising in and continuing to grow my knowledge and expertise of.

What are you most proud of in your career to date?

My three years as a Criminal Intelligence Officer at INTERPOL working within the Crimes against Children Unit. Working in a fast-paced team with a high-volume workload, that challenged me both personally and professionally.

What skills are you eager to contribute to the ACCCE?

My time working overseas established fantastic working relationships with international partner agencies like INTERPOL, Europol, FBI etc. These relationships are crucial to victim identification in that online child sexual abuse is a borderless crime that we all need to work together to solve.

What would you like to achieve in the next 12 months within ACCCE?

Personally, I’m looking forward to graduating from my Masters in Forensic Computing and Cybercrime Investigations, which has been really helpful in expanding my technical knowledge and understanding of how this can both facilitate and combat cybercrimes, including crimes against children.

Who do you look up to?

My colleagues. I’m fortunate to work with super experienced, intelligent people in the ACCCE who are committed to making a difference in the lives of children and their families. I am supported by them and learn from them every day. Something I hope I also do for them.

If you could invite one person to work at the ACCCE, who would it be?

Dr Michael Bourke. He’s a US based Forensic Psychologist who consults on psychological and behavioural traits of child sex offenders. I’ve seen him present and not only does he have a wicked sense of humour, but his insight into the minds of offenders is fascinating.

What do you enjoy most about working in Child Protection?

Child sexual abuse is a horrific crime that impacts these poor kids in every way possible. Removing them from their abuser doesn’t bring justice for what they’ve been through, but it does change the trajectory of their life and offers them hope for a better one. Knowing that I get to be a part of that brings a huge amount of satisfaction and pride.

Words of advice for people concerned about online child exploitation?

Engage with the children in your life, build strong relationships based on trust so they feel they can talk to you about anything and know that you will support them and do something to help if they disclose an abusive situation.

Upcoming events

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