ACCCE Launches Updated Online Safety Presentations for Students, Parents, and Educators

This evidence-based initiative, delivered nationally in partnership with state and territory police and industry, aims to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

The AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) is rolling out updated presentations for students, parents, carers, and teachers as part of the award-winning ThinkUKnow program. This evidence-based initiative, delivered nationally in partnership with state and territory police and industry, aims to prevent online child sexual exploitation.

The new presentations cover crucial topics such as the importance of privacy, self-generated child abuse material, online grooming, sexual extortion, and, most importantly, help-seeking behaviours.

In the 2022-23 financial year, the ACCCE Child Protection Triage Unit received 40,232 reports of online child sexual exploitation, up from 36,600 the previous year. During the same period, ThinkUKnow presentations reached 17,756 parents, carers, and teachers, and over 2515 presentations were delivered to an estimated 209,544 students across Australia.

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The updates to the ThinkUKnow presentations are based on current research in education and child wellbeing, intelligence, case studies, and real-life reports made to the ACCCE, AFP Child Protection Operations, and Joint Anti Child Exploitation Teams nationwide. Subject matter experts reviewed the content, and it was tested with students to ensure it provides appropriate information to help prevent online child sexual exploitation.

AFP Commander Human Exploitation Helen Schneider, from the ACCCE, emphasised the need for education programs to be evidence-based and to keep pace with technology.

“The threats to children and young people online, how they are targeted, and how they can protect themselves is always changing, and our education programs have to adapt and change with the online environment,” Commander Schneider said.

“These presentations aim to help children and young people, parents, and carers to face the online challenges of today, to protect them into tomorrow.”

The ACCCE’s Online Child Safety Team updates the ThinkUKnow presentations every two years to ensure the content is current and reflects the issues children and young people face online. ThinkUKnow has over 1200 volunteers and presenters from state and territory police, AFP, and industry partners, including the Commonwealth Bank, Datacom, Microsoft, and Neighbourhood Watch Australasia.

Commander Schneider highlighted the importance of these volunteers to the program’s success.

“The ThinkUKnow presenters and volunteers make all of this possible; without them, we would not have been able to deliver presentations to parents, carers, teachers, and students across Australia,” she said.

“I can’t thank them enough for all of their hard work and dedication to educating children and families on how to stay safe online.”

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The program is delivered to parents, carers, and teachers by industry and law enforcement volunteers, and to children and young people by AFP and state and territory police. The presentations educate the community about online child sexual exploitation, with updated information on self-generated child abuse material, online grooming, sexual extortion, and where to get help and support.

Student presentations, tailored to different age groups from Foundation to Year 12, are linked to the current Australian Curriculum to ensure they are age-appropriate and relevant. Schools and community groups can book presentations for students, parents, and carers on the ThinkUKnow website.

This initiative follows the launch of new education resources by the AFP and eSafety to help culturally and linguistically diverse families discuss online child safety. Parents and carers can find advice and support on the ThinkUKnow website.

ThinkUKnow, recognised for its impact, won the bronze award at the 2023 Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards.

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