Blacktown man charged with child abuse material offences

A 21-year old man has been arrested and charged with child abuse material offences after an Australian Federal Police (AFP) search warrant in Blacktown today (1 October, 2020).

The investigation into the man was initiated by a referral from the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) to AFP Eastern Command Child Protection Operations regarding a person suspected of sharing images of child abuse online.

AFP officers seized a number of electronic devices during the search warrant, including two phones, a USB and a laptop.

The man appeared in Blacktown Local Court this afternoon (1 October, 2020) to face charges including:

• Two counts of possess or control child abuse material obtained or accessed using a carriage service, contrary to section 474.24A of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);

• One counts of use carriage service to solicit child abuse material contrary to section 474.22 (1)(iv) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth);

• One count of make available child abuse material contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(iii) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth); and

• One count of use carriage service to access child abuse material contrary to section 474.22(1)(a)(i) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

The maximum penalty of these offences is 15 years imprisonment.

The man was granted conditional bail to reappear in court again on 3 December, 2020.

AFP Child Protection Operations Detective Sergeant Joel Wheeler said a substantial amount of child abuse material was found on devices that the man had in his possession.

“We will allege that this man used multiple social media platforms including Wickr and Snapchat to exchange this abhorrent material,” he said.

“The devices seized in during the search warrant will be the subject to further digital forensics examination, and there is every chance that this could result in more charges being laid.”

The ACCCE is committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and is at the centre of a collaborative national approach to combatting organised child abuse.

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

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.

Media are reminded of their obligations under s15A of the Children (Criminal Proceedings) Act 1987 (NSW) and s105 of the Children and Young Person (Care and Protection) Act 1998 (NSW).

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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