Australian efforts against the trade in online child sexual abuse material were strengthened significantly with the finalization 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 that 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 Cyber safety spokesperson, 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 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 organizations. For more detail, visit www.acma.gov.au/CCEMOforum.
Forum keynote 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.