New data released today shows images of an estimated 36,000 abused children were reported to law enforcement and international authorities by the Australian Communications and Media Authority in 2013.
The images were uncovered as part of 3,258 investigations conducted by the ACMA Hotline into child sexual abuse material in 2013—a 154 per cent increase on the previous year.
The data provides a rare insight into the nature and scope of the problem of online child sexual abuse material. The vast majority of victims were girls (92 per cent). The most common age category was pre-pubescent (83 per cent), while eight per cent of the images involved infants.
‘Every single image taken down helps to make the online environment safer and prevents the re-victimisation of the children who have suffered abuse,’ said ACMA Deputy Chairman and Cybersafety spokesman, Richard Bean. ‘Every image is essentially a crime scene.’
More than half of the material investigated was hosted in the United States of America, while the remainder was hosted in a wide variety of other countries, highlighting the global nature of the problem.
‘The ACMA works closely with Australian law enforcement agencies and the International community of Internet Hotlines (INHOPE). Together we pursue take-down and law enforcement notification of child sexual abuse material wherever it is hosted or produced,’ Richard Bean said.
In 2013, the ACMA made over 3,000 reports through INHOPE, with content typically being removed in three days or fewer. You can make a difference. If you encounter child exploitation material online take immediate action by making a report to acma.gov.au/hotline
If you have information about a crime, report it to Crime Stoppers online or call 1800 333 000.
Reports to the Hotline and Crime Stoppers can be made anonymously.
NOTE: If you believe that a child or any other person is in IMMEDIATE danger, please contact the police on 000 (triple zero).
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Media release 20/2014 - 7 April