A Victorian man has been convicted and jailed for two and a half years over child abuse related offences, following a Victorian Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (JACET) investigation.
The Pakenham man, 25, was sentenced in the Melbourne County Court on Friday (12 August, 2022) after pleading guilty to three charges relating to child abuse material being possessed, transmitted and solicited online.
The investigation began when the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received a report about a social media user transmitting and storing child abuse material across several platforms.
The Victorian JACET, comprising members from AFP and Victoria Police, linked the Pakenham man to the illegal online activity.
A search warrant was executed at his home on 13 October 2021, with investigators seizing a laptop and mobile phone, which were found to contain child abuse material.
The man was convicted of the following charges:
Solicit child abuse material using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iv); Transmit child abuse material using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii); and Possessing child abuse material accessed or obtained using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.22A of the Criminal Code Act 1995(Cth).
He was sentenced on Friday to a total effective sentence of 2 years 6 months imprisonment. It was ordered that he is to be released after serving 9 months imprisonment on a Recognisance Release Order.
AFP Detective Superintendent Simone Butcher said the result should serve as a warning to anyone involved in the exploitation of children.
"The AFP, together with our law enforcement partners are dedicated to fighting child sexual abuse and bringing those who commit these offences before the court," she said.
"Our investigators are relentless in their pursuit of anyone sharing or accessing child abuse material. However, we will always need the community's help to ensure we are effective in identifying victims and perpetrators.
"If you have information that could help law enforcement, please contact the ACCCE at https://www.accce.gov.au/report."
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 and exploitation are urged to call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or www.accce.gov.au/report. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.
Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety.
An award-winning podcast launched last year by the ACCCE 'Closing The Net' is working to change that, showcasing that knowledge is power and that our only chance to help prevent this issue is if we bring a 'whole-of-community' response.
The podcast series offers valuable tips and advice on how to keep kids safe online. Listen to the Closing The Net podcast on your favourite streaming platform.
If you or someone you know are impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation there are support services available at www.accce.gov.au/support.
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.
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.
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