A 22-year-old Melbourne man is due to face the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court today (Friday 26 February, 2021) charged with allegedly possessing child abuse material.
The Victorian Joint-Anti Child Exploitation Team (JACET) began an investigation into the man’s online activities following reports that a user of a website was accessing child abuse material.
The report was referred to investigators by the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) who identified a Melbourne man as the alleged user of this service.
The Hampton Park man was arrested yesterday (25 February 2021) by members of the Victorian JACET. Following the execution of a search warrant, investigators allegedly found child abuse material stored on the man’s laptop.
Police seized the 22-year-old’s laptop and mobile phone which will be subject to further digital forensic examination.
The man was granted bail yesterday afternoon to appear before Melbourne Magistrates Court today charged with:
- Using a carriage service to possess child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cth)
The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years’ imprisonment.
AFP Commander Todd Hunter said this arrest was another reminder of the commitment undertaken by the AFP and its partners to protect children and identify and prosecute anyone who seeks to exploit and harm them.
“Anyone who produces or shares child abuse material is part of the problem, it is they who create the market for child abuse material online, which causes further harm to our community’s most vulnerable – our children,” he said.
“This arrest should serve as a warning law enforcement is dedicated to fighting child sexual abuse and bringing those who commit these offences before the court.”
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.