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Home Affairs Portfolio leads countering child sexual exploitation and abuse

This is a joint media release between AUSTRAC, the Department of Home Affairs, the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and the Australian Federal Police.

The Australian Government has seen a disturbing trend in violence used against children.

The Home Affairs Portfolio is leading the Government’s efforts in countering child sexual exploitation and abuse in the physical and online world. 

Today, the heads of the Australian Federal Police, Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre, and Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission will come together at the National Press Club to discuss this insidious crime.

Child sexual exploitation shatters the life of the abused child and families, and communities are left devastated. Nowhere is this more explicit and increasing than online.

Australia Federal Police Commissioner, Reece Kershaw, says his agency has received almost 17,000 reports of online child sexual abuse. Each report can contain hundreds to thousands of images and videos.

As the severity of violence used against children is increasing, the age of victims is getting younger; the volume and dissemination of violent child abuse material is escalating; and we’re seeing the emergence of self-produced child sexual exploitation material.

CEO of the Australia Criminal Intelligence Commission, Michael Phelan, says that serious and organised crime costs our country an estimated $47.4 billion every year. The ACIC assesses that 70 per cent of Australia’s organised criminal threats are based offshore or have strong offshore links.

New and world-leading research in this field continues to drive home these findings. The Australian Institute of Criminology will release a new paper which, in the first of its kind, analyses data on payments that were likely made by Australians for child sexual abuse streaming based in the Philippines.

Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre CEO, Nicole Rose PSM, says that working with the finance sector is a key component to countering online child exploitation. In recent years and as a result of partnering with industry, AUSTRAC has seen a 643 percent increase in suspicious matter reporting. At the same time the sexual exploitation of children for financial gain has grown; and advancements in technology now make it possible for offenders to order, pay and view the live streaming of children being abused.

The collaboration across law enforcement and intelligence agencies is imperative in combatting this insidious crime in and outside of Australia.

Media contacts 

Home Affairs Media Operations: 02 6264 2244

AUSTRAC: 02 9950 0488