Cairns man charged over online child abuse offences 17 May

A 55-year-old man, charged with possessing child abuse material, is due to appear in Cairns Magistrate Court today (17 May 2022), following an investigation by the Cairns Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (Cairns JACET).

The Cairns JACET, which comprises officers from the AFP and Queensland Police Service Cairns Child Protection Investigation Unit, charged the man on 5 May 2022 after allegedly finding files containing child abuse material on tablets, laptops and USBs located at the man’s residence in Edmonton.

The investigation was launched after a report from the United States Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) about a person, believed to be in Australia, engaging in online chat groups where people shared child abuse material.

The Cairns JACET allegedly linked the 55-year-old man to the accounts and executed a warrant at his residence two weeks ago.

AFP Detective Acting Superintendent Child Protection Operations Mary Bolton said the AFP worked with partners to find anyone sharing or viewing material that depicts the abuse of children.

“Our goal is to protect children online and every time someone shares an image or video of child abuse they are continuing the abuse of that victim,” she said.

“The AFP will be relentless in our dedication to bringing anyone who shares this material to justice.”

The 55-year-old man has been charged with one count of possessing or controlling child abuse material obtained or accessed by using a carriage service contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).

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

The AFP is also urging the public to help it solve cold case child abuse investigations through its Stop Child Abuse – Trace an Object initiative. The smallest clue can often help solve a case.

The world-leading initiative, is centred on the publishing of non-confrontational images that can be seen in child exploitation online material such as pieces of clothing or bedding.

Australian investigators believe the images are linked to victims in the Asia Pacific Region, including Australia, and are calling on the community to view the images and make a report at www.accce.gov.au/trace

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

The ACCCE 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 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.

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.

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