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New national network for reporting online child sexual abuse content

Australian efforts against the trade in online child sexual abuse material have been significantly strengthened with the finalisation of formal agreements between the Australian Communications and Media Authority and the police forces of Queensland and Victoria.

Arrangements are now locked in place with every Australian police force, creating a ‘national spine’ along which the ACMA can make targeted and timely reports where there is evidence that child sexual abuse material has a connection with a particular jurisdiction. The ACMA can now report child sexual abuse content which appears to be produced, hosted in, or accessed from anywhere in Australia. 

‘This national network – the first of its kind in Australia – greatly strengthens the ACMA’s role supporting the crucial work of Australian law enforcement against online child sexual abuse content,’ said ACMA Deputy Chair and Cybersafety spokesman, Richard Bean.

‘We see our close relationship with the ACMA as an important element in our overall strategy to turn the tide of child sexual abuse and exploitation online,’ said Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner, Graham Ashton.

Commissioner Lay’s sentiments were echoed by Queensland Police Service Deputy Commissioner (Specialist Operations) Ross Barnett who said ‘Defeating the trade in illegal online material requires real cooperation between Commonwealth and State authorities. This newly-established network is a great example of a cooperative arrangement in practice.’   

The announcement comes on the first day of the Combating Child Exploitation Material Online regional cooperation forum being co-hosted by the ACMA and the Australian Federal Police. This event provides a significant regional focus to the ongoing issue of online child exploitation – with key stakeholders in Sydney from law enforcement, industry and non-government organisations. For more detail: www.acma.gov.au/CCEMOforum.

Forum key note presentations are being delivered by the AFP, INHOPE (the International Association of Internet Hotlines for the eradication of child sexual abuse material online) and the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, which is a global movement to protect children from sexual exploitation and abduction. Forum participants include Australian state police forces; the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (USA); the Internet Watch Foundation (UK); the Internet Hotline Centre (Japan); and End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT International), as well as hotlines for public reports about online child sexual abuse in Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, New Zealand and the Philippines.

Reports about offensive or illegal online content should be made to the ACMA Hotline: www.acma.goc.au/hotline.

If you are aware a child or other person is in immediate danger, or is at risk of serious harm, call the police on Triple Zero (000).

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au.

Media release 42/2014 - 29 July

 

BACKGROUNDER

The ACMA plays a crucial role in the eradication of child sexual abuse material from the internet.

The ACMA Hotline for reporting offensive and illegal online content has become a frontline mechanism in Australia for combating this material.

Within Australia

The ACMA has strong take-down powers for such content hosted in Australia (with 100 per cent take-down compliance across the 14 year life of the scheme).

The Hotline has formal relationships with all Australian law enforcement agencies, including the Australian Federal Police and Crime Stoppers Australia.

Overseas

The ACMA is highly effective at pursuing take-down and law enforcement notification for overseas-hosted child sexual abuse material through our relationships with more than 50 INHOPE (the International Association of Internet Hotlines) partner hotlines around the world.

Nearly all child sexual abuse material reported through INHOPE channels is removed within three days.

The roles of Victoria Police and Queensland Police

Child Exploitation Task Forces – Crime Command, Victoria Police
Task Force Argos – State Crime Command, Queensland Police Service

Both Victoria Police and the Queensland Police Service possess specialist capabilities to identify and prosecute online predators. Their highly-developed covert methods and innovative technologies ensure that not only perpetrators, but victims, are identified across international boundaries.  

 The role of the Australian Federal Police

The AFP performs an investigative and coordination role within Australia for multijurisdictional and international online child sex exploitation matters, including investigations into internet sites carrying child sexual abuse material.

As a key partner in this fight, the AFP is co-sponsoring the Combating Child Exploitation Material Online forum with the ACMA as a positive initiative to enhance regional collaboration.

The regional co-operation forum

The forum will enable attendees to exchange strategic and operational information through a range of presentations from public, private, law enforcement and industry bodies. The sessions will facilitate discussion of operational tactics and opportunities for innovative collaboration and information-sharing.

The forum will support the activities of INHOPE hotlines by providing a regional focus to the global fight against child exploitation online. New and emerging hotlines for reporting child sexual abuse material in Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines the region will be attending the forum.

An important note on use of terminology

The Australian Federal Police and other child protection agencies around the world have noted that the use of the phrase 'child pornography' (particularly in the media) can actually benefit child sex abusers as it may:

>        indicate legitimacy and compliance on the part of the victim and therefore legality on the part of the abuser

>        conjure up images of children posing in 'provocative' positions, rather than suffering horrific abuse.

As they state: 'Every photograph captures an actual situation where a child has been abused. This is not pornography'.

Alternatives to the term include: ‘child exploitation material’ and ‘child sexual abuse material’.

Photos from the CCEMO forum

Day 1

Chairman CCEO jpg

ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman gives the opening address

Tim Morris CCEMO jpg

Keynote 1: Combating oline child exploitation material - the national and global picture

Assistant Commissioner Tim Morris, National Manager, High Tech Crime Operations, AFP and Virtual Global Taskforce

Russell Chadwick CCEMO jpg

Keynote 2: INHOPE - supporting internet hotlines for citizen reports about child sexual abuse material around the world

Russell Chadwick, Executive Director, IHOPE Association and INHOPE Foundation

 Day 2

Justice Minister head shot jpg

Ministerial address: The Hon. Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Justice 

Last updated: 19 September 2016

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