National Child Protection Week – 45 people have been charged after a joint operation in WA and the Australian Federal Police | Directory Mayhem

This is a joint media release from the Australian Federal Police and the Western Australia Police Force

Editor’s note: Operation Tamworth Warrants – Hightail link to images

National Child Protection Week (NCPW) is a national campaign to remind and educate the community that every child should be able to grow up safely. The campaign runs from Sunday 4th September to Saturday 10th September 2022.

In the run-up to NCPW 2022, a joint Australian Federal Police, WA Police and Australian Border Force operation conducted AFP Operation TAMWORTH /WA Police Operation PALOMAR to target offenders involved in the manufacture, distribution and distribution Possession of material involved in child exploitation. In a period of seven days, officers from the WA JACET (Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team), made up of AFP and WA Police officers, executed more than 60 search warrants in urban and regional locations in Western Australia, with 16 of those search warrants involving Commonwealth offenses under the Criminal Code ( cth).

This led to 45 people in WA being charged with 149 offenses and the seizure of 35,222 images and videos of child exploitation material.

Importantly, three victims have been identified and rescued from ongoing child sexual abuse.

In 2021, the AFP-run Australian Center to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) received more than 33,000 in-depth reports of child exploitation. That is twice as much as in 2019.

AFP Detective Superintendent Graeme Marshall said the arrests were another example of the work that AFP and WA Police do every day to protect children across the country and that law enforcement would identify, arrest and prosecute predators who tried to exploit and harm them.

“These numbers show the scale of the problem and the importance of everyone in the community – parents, teachers, carers – being vigilant. Let this serve as a warning to anyone producing or disseminating child abuse material – you will be caught,” he said.

“AFP, along with our state, Commonwealth and international partners, remains committed to identifying, arresting and prosecuting those who seek to exploit and harm the most vulnerable in our communities – our children.”

Detective Superintendent Gordon Fairman of the WA Police Department’s Sexual Crime Unit said: “It must be remembered that child exploitation material is not pornography – it is direct evidence of child abuse. Identifying, locating and rescuing these children is a top priority for WA Police and we are working closely with national and international partners to do this. Those who create, distribute or possess child exploitation material may believe they are anonymous and are hiding behind a computer. Let me tell you they are not. As this operation demonstrates, we can identify them, we can locate them and we can prosecute them.”

AFP and its partners work to stop child exploitation and abuse, and the AFP-led Australian Center for Combating Child Exploitation is driving a collaborative national approach to tackling child abuse.

The ACCCE brings expertise and skills together in a central hub, supporting investigations into child sexual exploitation online and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.

Members of the public with information about those 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 occurring or a child is in danger, call the police at 000 immediately.

A 2020 survey conducted by the ACCCE found that only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety.

An award-winning podcast launched by ACCCE Closing The Net last year is working to change that by showing that knowledge is power and that our only chance of preventing this problem is if we have a ” Contribute Whole 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 favorite streaming platform.

If you or someone you know is affected by child sexual abuse and online exploitation, support services are available at www.accce.gov.au/support.

For advice and support for parents and carers on how to help protect children online, visit www.thinkuknow.org.au, an AFP-led awareness program to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

Note for media:

Use of the Term “CHILD ABUSE” MATERIAL NOT “CHILD PORNOGRAPHY”

The correct legal term is “Child Abuse Material” – the change to this wording came as part of the 2019 amendments to Commonwealth legislation to more accurately reflect the seriousness of the crimes and the harm inflicted on the victims.

The use of the term “child pornography” is imprecise and benefits child abusers because it:

  • indicates legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and thus legality on the part of the perpetrator; and
  • conjures up images of children posing in “provocative” positions rather than suffering horrific abuse.

Each photo or video depicts an actual situation in which a child was abused.

Media Inquiries:
AFP National Media: (02) 5126 9297

WA Police Media: (08) 9222 1011

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