Thu, 03 Dec 2020

Ballarat man charged over alleged child abuse material offences

Australian Federal Police
22 Oct 2020, 10:04 GMT+10

A 22-year-old regional Victorian man accused of sharing child abuse material online using a social media account is scheduled to face court in Ballarat today (22 October, 2020).

The man was arrested as part of an investigation launched after the Australian Federal Police-led (AFP) Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received information from United States authorities in relation to the alleged sharing of child exploitation material online.

The Victorian Joint Anti-Child Exploitation Team (JACET), comprising members from the AFP and Victoria Police (VICPOL), conducted an investigation and executed a search warrant on a residence in the Victorian regional city of Ballarat, yesterday, 21 October 2020.

The man was arrested at a location in Ross Creek and two mobile phones and a computer were seized for further digital forensic analysis.

The accused man was granted police bail and will appear before the Ballarat Magistrates' Court this morning (22 October 2020) charged with:

Using a carriage service to possess child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth); and Accessing material using a carriage service, the material being child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty for these offences is 15 years' imprisonment.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Sarah Fullerton said the appetite for child abuse material has not decreased during the global Covid-19 pandemic.

"The AFP does not get a day off from this insidious crime type. We work with our partners day-in day-out, to catch those profiting off the innocence of our children, who are being used by predators in creating these sickening images," Detective Acting Superintendent Fullerton said.

"We are committed to tracking down these perpetrators targeting and exploiting children, whether they are in Australia or overseas."

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 by alerting the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation via the Report Abuse button at www.accce.gov.au/report

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

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