Western Sydney man arrested for alleged online sharing of child abuse material

Source: Australian Federal Police

A 24-year-old man is due to face Penrith Court today following an AFP investigation into the alleged possession and sharing of child abuse material online.

The investigation began following a report from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) in the United States. The report suggested an internet user based in Australia had transmitted more than 6,800 files categorised as child abuse material online.

The matter was referred to the AFP Eastern Command Child Protection Operations area and an investigation launched.

Investigators yesterday (Tuesday, 7 April 2020) executed a search warrant at a home in the western Sydney suburb of Whalan. A number of electronic devices were seized and will be the subject of further digital forensic examination.

The man was arrested and taken to Mount Druitt Police Station and charged with using a carriage service for child abuse material, contrary to s 474.22 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth). The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years imprisonment.

AFP Acting Commander Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) and Child Protection Operations Paula Hudson said these types of images often depict a child somewhere in the world that has been exposed to cruel and degrading abuse.

“Despite the current COVID-19 crisis the AFP and the ACCCE, as well as state and territory partners, will not lose focus on combatting child exploitation,” she said.

“Our officers are still working diligently to identify and prosecute those who prey on our children. Our work to put a stop to the sexual exploitation of children, be it online or physical abuse, will not stop for anything.”

Acting Commander Hudson said sharing these images fuelled the demand for the disturbing content, and the AFP remained committed to combating this crime type at all levels – now more than ever as people turn to spend more time on the internet.

“Even now as our society grapples with this health crisis, this is a warning to would-be offenders that we are still active and we will still catch you,” she said. 

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) works alongside key stakeholders and partners to drive a collective global effort to counter the epidemic of child exploitation. It provides an integrated and collaborative capability to ensure cohesion by using the expertise of federal, state and territory, non-government agencies and private industry, and by allowing a cross-pollination of resources, knowledge and skillsets between stakeholders.

Members of the public who have any information about people involved in the possession or sharing of child exploitation material 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.

Editor’s note: Vision of the arrest is available via Hightail link here.

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