Australia’s national online safety program, ThinkUKnow, this week celebrates 10 years of delivering safety education, training and awareness to schools and communities across the nation.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) led program launched in Australia in 2009 in response to the increasing number of online safety issues and child exploitation reports.
Over the past 10 years, the program has grown exponentially, now reaching more than 17,000 parents, carers, and teachers and 200,000 students every year.
With an increasing number of reports of child exploitation received each year, the need for the ThinkUKnow program and online vigilance has never been greater.
In 2018 alone, 17,893 reports were received, almost doubling the previous year where a total of 9,741 reports were received.
The Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton said the abuse and exploitation of children is a global epidemic.
“Online safety programs like ThinkUKnow are critical to the protection of children in an ever-changing online environment,” Mr Dutton said
“It is through partnerships and working together that we can collaborate, coordinate and prevent the exploitation of children and vulnerable people.”
To help fight the growing incidence of child abuse, the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) was established in Brisbane last year to provide a consistent, holistic and coordinated response to counter the exploitation of children and vulnerable people in Australia and overseas.
The ThinkUKnow program currently has a footprint in all metropolitan areas around Australia and continues to train state and territory police presenters and industry volunteers.
Reaching all members of the community is a priority, especially communities in regional and rural areas who can be hard to reach and may be more vulnerable.
For more information on how to stay safe online, visit www.thinkuknow.org.au.