International Centre for Missing and Exploited Children Australia Ltd

Media Release

ICMEC Australia provides comment on Operation Tenterfield

August 2, 2023

ICMEC Australia Board Director and Former Head, Task force Argos, Jon Rouse APM provides comment on announcement of Operation Tenterfield

 

Sydney – 2 August 2023 Yesterday the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Queensland Police Service and NSW Police released a joint statement on an investigation that resulted in a man being charged with 1623 child abuse offences against 91 children. The full account of this investigation, Operation Tenterfield, can be found in the joint media release.

ICMEC Australia extends our deepest sympathy to everyone affected by these horrific acts. We also extend our sincere thanks and acknowledgement to all those involved in Operation Tenterfield, as well as the many partners working to combat child sexual exploitation.

This shocking news further highlights the need for greater awareness of this crime, and for continued collaboration not just within law enforcement, but also across all sectors who have a critical role to play protecting children from harm.

The following comments in relation to the issue of child sexual abuse, highlighted by Operation Tenterfield can be attributed to Jon Rouse APM, ICMEC Australia Board Member and former Head, Task force Argos:

“Yesterday’s announcement will understandably cause a great deal of community concern and raise many questions. Child sexual abuse affects far too many families globally. The more we as a society are prepared to have open conversations about this issue, the more children we can protect from this horrendous crime.”

“My thoughts are with all families involved and with the State and Federal investigative teams who are to be commended for their dedication. The nations Victim Identification teams, many of whom are parents of young children themselves, provided expert investigative capability that was crucial in achieving this outcome”.

“The most important message I can relay to parents, carers and guardians is that if your child discloses, please believe them, support them, and engage with investigators as soon as possible”.

“A protracted, and as with many cases involving the internet, global law enforcement effort was critical in this outcome, however collaboration extends beyond law enforcement. Many organisations have a role to play, particularly when the crime involves online child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Cross-industry collaboration, such as between law enforcement and financial services institutions, will result in piecing together the puzzle to save children.”

The following comments can be attributed to ICMEC Australia CEO, Anna Bowden:

“As someone with lived experience of child sexual abuse, and with two young daughters of my own, I am sending thoughts to the many victim-survivors and their families involved. This case demonstrates the need to continue our fight to protect children, and ramp up the public discussion, so we can shed more light on these atrocities, and confront them”.

“This announcement has just reinforced our commitment to support better detection, reporting and prevention of this heinous crime. I would like to thank our partners in law enforcement, financial crime, regulation and child protection agencies for their tireless commitment to saving children from abuse and exploitation.”

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About ICMEC Australia

ICMEC Australia (www.icmec.org.au) is a not-for-profit that brings together government, law enforcement, NGOs and commercial entities to develop data products and collaborative actions to reduce the volume of child exploitation crimes within and from Australia. ICMEC Australia supports data and technology driven solutions that facilitate stakeholders in collecting and combining digital evidence of online facilitated sexual crimes against children.

Media contact:
Karen Porter
Head of Marketing & Communications
ICMEC Australia
marketing@icmec.org.au

 

Support Services:
Report a Crime
  •  Urgent: Call 000
  •  Non-urgent: Call 131 444
  •  eSafety: Make a report about cyberbullying, image-based abuse or illegal and harmful content.
  •  ACCCE: Make a report about inappropriate behaviour towards children online, grooming or sextortion.

 

Mental Health Support

 

Helplines

Bravehearts Information & Support Line 1800 241 826 operates during the hours of 8:30am to 4:30pm, Monday to Friday AEST (hours may vary on public holidays).

Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free 24/7 confidential and private counselling service specifically for children and young people aged 5 – 25.
Call 1800 55 1800.

Blue Knot Foundation Helpline is the National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma. It provides support, education and resources for the families and communities of adult survivors of childhood trauma and abuse.

Call 1300 657 380, Monday – Sunday between 9am – 5pm AEST or via email helpline@blueknot.org.au.

PartnerSPEAK provides support for non-offending partners, family members, friends, or anyone else who is affected by a person’s involvement in child sexual abuse and child exploitation material. Call 1300 590 589, chat online or access their forum.

1800RESPECT provides support for people impacted by domestic, family or sexual violence. Call 1800 737 732 (1800RESPECT) or chat online.

Lifeline provides 24-hour crisis counselling, support groups and suicide prevention services.

Call 13 11 14, text 0477 13 11 14 or chat online.

For more services, please see healthdirect’s Mental Health Helplines.

Concern about your own thoughts or someone else’s thoughts towards children:
Stop It Now! Australia works with adults with concerns about their own or someone else’s sexual thoughts or behaviours towards children.
Call 1800 01 1800 or chat online, Monday – Tuesday 10am – 2pm AEST/AEDT or Wednesday – Thursday 1pm-4pm AEST/AEDT.

 

Note to media:
Guidance for reporting on child sexual abuse

Use of the correct language and a victim-centric approach is critical when reporting on child sexual abuse and exploitation. This reduces the stigma associated with the crime and empowers victim-survivors to share their personal experiences.

The National Office for Child Safety (NOCS) has issued Media Guidelines for reporting on child sexual abuse. You can access these guidelines here.

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