QPS detectives have charged six people with 11 child sex offences as part of a nationally coordinated operation targeting high-threat online child sex offenders.
Officers from the State Crime Command’s Child Abuse and Sexual Crime Unit, Argos, and local Child Protection and Investigation Units executed nine search warrants across Queensland as part of the Australia-wide month of action codenamed Operation Soutien.
A 38-year-old male senior school teacher from a Central Queensland school was among those arrested. He was charged with possessing and distributing child exploitation material and is due to appear in Rockhampton Magistrates Court on 15 January 2020.
A 31-year-old male from Brisbane was also arrested and charged with using a carriage service to access child abuse material and is due to appear in Brisbane Magistrates Court on 16 December 2019.
Material seized during the multiple search warrants will be examined in an effort to identify child victims as part of investigations under the national child protection strategy.
The operation followed on from three days of intensive, specialist training conducted by the US-based Child Rescue Coalition at Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) facility in Brisbane.
Child Abuse and Sexual Crime Group Detective Superintendent Denzil Clark said the successful national operation highlighted the benefits of working in collaboration with interstate and international counterparts.
“Disturbingly, we know child sex offenders will go to extraordinary lengths to exploit children and through upskilling and collaborating with interstate and international counterparts we can ensure our investigators are best placed to track them down,” Detective Superintendent Clark said.
Superintendent Clark said the operation was a timely reminder to all parents to be vigilant with electronic devices used by their children and ensure that they monitor their children’s online activities.
“Particularly over the school holiday period, supervision for children is critical in preventing self-produced child exploitation material and children being exploited online,” he said.
Other Argos arrests during Operation Soutien included:
- A 41-year-old Tingalpa man
- A 34-year-old Kingaroy man
- A 64-year-old Labrador man
- A 32-year-old Harristown man.
The Queensland Family and Child Commission (‘QFCC’) ‘Out of the Dark’ #doiknowu campaign is a joint initiative with the QPS and Department of Education. This state-wide campaign plays an important role in building awareness and promoting behaviours that prevent, recognise and respond to the prevalence of online grooming. For more information or access to the #doiknowu campaign materials, please visit: www.qfcc.qld.gov.au/doiknowu
The eSafety Commissioner is a key partner of the QPS in enhancing online safety. The website www.esafety.gov.au contains a comprehensive suite of information, resources and reporting tools to help educate and empower families to ensure children have a safe experience online.
Child safety top tips from ThinkUKnow:
• Supervision for young children is critical in preventing self-produced child exploitation material and online grooming.
• Make sure your child feels comfortable in talking to you or another trusted adult about issues they might be experiencing online.
• It is never too late to seek support or help.
• For more on ThinkUKnow, or to request a presentation in your area, visit www.thinkuknow.org.au