A 45-year-old Darwin man has been charged with accessing child abuse material following an international referral received by the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE).
The ACCCE was set up by the Australian Government last year to boost the capabilities of authorities to fight the scourge of child exploitation and sexual abuse.
Early yesterday morning (Tuesday, October 22), the Northern Territory Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (NT-JACET), comprising the Australian Federal Police and NT Police, executed a search warrant at a home in the Darwin suburb of Gray.
A 45-year-old man was arrested and a mobile phone seized, which police will allege was used to access child abuse images online.
The man was charged with using a carriage service for child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth).
He is due to appear before the Darwin Magistrates’ Court today (23 October 2019) The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years’ imprisonment.
The arrest was the culmination of an investigation launched in previous months when Australian authorities in the ACCCE received a referral from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police National Child Exploitation Coordination Centre (NCECC), which indicated a Darwin man was allegedly sharing child exploitation material online.
Coordinated enquiries were then undertaken by specialist capabilities within the ACCCE, including the Child Protection Triage Unit, the Covert team and the Victim Identification team.
The ACCCE then referred the inquiry to the NT-JACET, which undertook further investigative work leading to the execution of the search warrant.
AFP acting Manager Child Protection, Marina Simoncini, said the investigation highlighted the importance of a coordinated response to detect and prevent the online exploitation of children.
“This outcome shows what can be achieved when working together to keep our children safe,” she said.
Recognising the global and borderless nature of online child exploitation, the
ACCCE is founded on a principle of partnership to protect children through its four pillars, Prepare, Prevent, Protect and Pursue.
The ACCCE is primarily based in Brisbane and brings together specialist expertise and skills of Federal, State and Territory, non-government agencies and private industry.
Between July and September 2019, the ACCCE received 4,371 reports of child exploitation.
The NT-JACET investigation remains ongoing.
Members of the community who have information about persons involved in child abuse material are urged to report their suspicions through the ‘Report Child Abuse’ link of the AFP website, via Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the social media provider (such as Twitter, Facebook etc).