ACCCE Research Report



With the prevalence of children and young people accessing the internet, online safety is becoming an increasing concern around the world. 

The increase in young people (including children and infants) accessing the internet has seen a corresponding upward trend in cases of online child sexual exploitation, including grooming, image-based abuse, and the spread of self-generated sexually explicit material. 

In 2018, the ACCCE Child Protection Triage Unit received almost 18,000 reports of child sexual exploitation, each of which can contain hundreds or thousands of images and videos. 

To better understand this trend, the ACCCE commissioned market research into the current awareness, perceptions and attitudes of online child sexual exploitation in Australia. 

Participants included parents and carers, siblings (aged 18–21 years) of children and young people, educators, health professionals and community members. 

Key findings 

  • 21 per cent of participants think there is a likelihood that online child sexual exploitation can happen to their child. 
  • 3 per cent listed online grooming as a concern. 
  • 52 per cent of participants talk to their children about online safety. 
  • 21 per cent of participants felt online child exploitation is too repulsive and sickening to think about. 
  • Four out of five children aged four are using the internet; 30 per cent of these children have access to their own device. 
  • 23 per cent of parents sit with their children while they use the internet. 
  • 51 per cent of participants did not know what they could do to keep children safe from online child sexual exploitation. 

By working closely with our partners across the Australian community, we aim to help parents and carers, and children, understand what to look out for, in the hope that we can reduce the amount of offences against children.