Fight against child sexual abuse material steps up | ACMA

Fight against child sexual abuse material steps up

The Australian Communications and Media Authority and the Australian Federal Police (AFP) co-sponsored Combating Child Exploitation Material Online regional forum concluded successfully seven days ago, highlighting the efforts of law enforcement, non-government organizations and industry to disrupt the trade in online child sexual abuse content—and opportunities to collaborate more effectively.

The Minister for Justice, the Hon Michael Keenan, addressed the forum, urging Australia’s cyber-innovators to join with law enforcement to ‘remain a step ahead of perpetrators’, emphasizing that ‘no area of the Internet is immune from the law and no form of abuse or exploitation of a child will be tolerated.’

‘The agencies in the vanguard of this fight were able to share insights into the challenges they face’ said ACMA Deputy Chairman and Cybersafety spokesman, Richard Bean. ‘They also shared their expertise and reinforced the already profoundly impressive dedication of those who are making a real difference, every day, locally and internationally.’

‘This was a ground-breaking opportunity to examine how law enforcement, reporting hotlines like the ACMA, non-government organizations and industry can effectively work together in this critical area,’ said AFP Commander Glen McEwen Acting National Manager High Tech Crime Operations. ‘Working with the ACMA and other stakeholders, we will be exploring a range of important new initiatives over the coming months.’

In recognition of the unique opportunities for collaboration created by the event, the ACMA and the AFP have committed to co-hosting the forum again next year.

Also announced at the forum was the finalization of a new ‘national spine’ for the targeted and rapid notification of online child sexual abuse material by the ACMA to every police force in Australia.

Participants included INHOPE—the International Association of Internet Hotlines; the International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children, based in Singapore; Australian state police forces; the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children (USA); the Internet Watch Foundation (UK); the Internet Association Japan; and End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT International), based in Bangkok, as well as hotlines for public reports about online child sexual abuse in Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, New Zealand, South Africa and the Philippines.

The forum took place at the ACMA’s offices in Sydney from 29-30 July 2014. More information can be found here:

For more information, please see the Backgrounder below, or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719, 0434 652 063 or

Media Release 46/2014 12 Aug


The ACMA Hotline for reporting offensive and illegal online content is a frontline mechanism in Australia for the eradication of child sexual abuse material from the internet.

For further information:

Within Australia

The ACMA has take-down powers for prohibited 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.


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 partner hotlines around the world.

Child sexual abuse material reported through INHOPE channels is typically removed within three days.

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 co-sponsored the cooperation forum with the ACMA as a positive initiative to enhance regional collaboration.

The Combating Child Exploitation Material Online (CCEMO) regional co-operation forum

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

The forum supported 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 attended 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; and

>       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’.

Last updated: 09 November 2017