A West Australian man has become the first person to be jailed in the state for aggravated child abuse offences.
The Maddington man, 36, was sentenced to 4 years and six months’ imprisonment by the Perth Magistrates Court on Friday 28 April, 2023 after sharing child abuse material online.
The West Australian Joint Anti Child Exploitation Team (WA JACET) – comprising of officers from the AFP and Western Australia Police – launched its investigation into the man in 2020 after the AFP received a report from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) about child abuse material being uploaded to social media.
The AFP linked the man to the account and executed a search warrant on 23 February, 2021.
Police seized a number of devices including a laptop and mobile phones, which were all found to contain child abuse material.
The man previously pleaded guilty to the following charges:
- One count of possessing child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22A(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth),
- One count of committing an offence on three or more occasions, contrary to section 474.22(1) Criminal Code involving 2 or more people contrary to section 474.24A(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth),
- One count of accessing child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth); and
- One count of transmitting child abuse material, contrary to section 474.22(1) of the Criminal Code (Cth).
He was sentenced to 4 years and six months’ imprisonment with a non-parole period of 2 years and 9 months.
AFP Superintendent Peter Chwal said the sentencing outcome was significant as it was the first time an offender had been charged in Western Australia with aggravated child abuse offences.
“This outcome should serve as a strong warning to those seeking to exploit and harm children. You will be caught and you will be brought to justice,” Superintendent Chwal said.
“The AFP and its state, territory and international law enforcement partners are committed to protecting children and work tirelessly to target and identify anyone who seeks to harm them.”
The AFP and its partners are committed to stopping child exploitation and abuse and the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) is driving a collaborative national approach to combatting child abuse.
The ACCCE brings together specialist expertise and skills in a central hub, supporting investigations into online child sexual exploitation and developing prevention strategies focused on creating a safer online environment.
Members of the public who have information about people involved in child abuse are urged to contact the ACCCE at www.accce.gov.au/report. If you know abuse is happening right now or a child is at risk, call police immediately on 000.
If you or someone you know is impacted by child sexual abuse and online exploitation, support services are available at www.accce.gov.au/support.
Research conducted by the ACCCE in 2020 revealed only about half of parents talked to their children about online safety. Advice and support for parents and carers about how they can help protect children online can be found at www.thinkuknow.org.au, an AFP-led education program designed to prevent online child sexual exploitation.