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Family Law

Child Exploitation: The exploitation of children is on the rise

By September 18, 2017No Comments

The Australian’s Federal Police’s Child Exploitation Assessment Centre has recently released figures showing they received more than 8,000 reports of child exploitation in 2016. Such exploitation includes sexual abuse, torture and murder of children for online audiences. Speaking at the World Congress on Children’s Rights and Family Law Efforts, AFP Commander Lesa Gale emphasised the need for such exploitation to no longer be a taboo subject so that children can be provided with the help they need.

Last year, Commander Gale’s unit prosecuted an Australian man who was sentenced to 22 years imprisonment for soliciting the creation and birth of twin girls through a surrogate with the full intent of sexually abusing them. The babies were only 27 days old when the first sexual assault began.

Worryingly, exploitation figures appear to be on the rise. “In the first five months of this year, the AFP has received more than 4500 reports of child exploitation – a figure greater than the number of reports received in the 2013 and 2014 calendar years.”

Commander Gale stated that “each one of these reports can contain hundreds and thousands of images and videos of children being sexually abused and tortured.”

“In the early and mid-2000s, in Australia the number of images seized when an offender was arrested was around 1000 images of a child being sexually abused. We were seizing kilobyte and megabytes of child exploitation material,” Gale said in her speech.

“Today, on average a seizure is between 10,000 to 80,000 images and videos. Some seizures have contained more than one million multi-media files.

Law enforcement agencies can’t deal with the problem alone. Family law has to be part of the solution, representing children’s interests and assisting parents in custody battles and being the first point of call for any concerns regarding domestic violence or abuse.

Early action is key to protecting children at risk. “By the time law enforcement is called in to remove a child from harm or bring an offender to justice, it’s already too late. A child’s life has been severely impacted, for life,” says Gale.

If you are concerned about possible child exploitation, members of the public can make a report via the “Report Abuse” button on the AFP ( and ThinkUKnow ( websites.

If you need help with parenting and protecting your children in a family law matter, contact Canberra family lawyer Cristina Huesch or one of our solicitors, Sharla Stevens or Angela Li, at Alliance Family Law on (02) 6223 2400.

To read more about child exploitation, see:

Please note our blogs are not legal advice. For information on how to obtain the correct legal advice, please phone us for a free first conference.


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