Sex Crimes Squad

Whilst all police have a role in protection of children, clear areas of responsibility have been established for the investigation of child abuse matters. The Sex Crimes Squad and the Joint Investigation Response Squad (JIRS) were established to ensure provision of a specialist adult sexual assault and child protection service to support Local Area Commands across NSW. These services are offered in partnership with Community Services (formerly Department of Community Services), and the Department of Health

The Sex Crimes Squad Commander is the Head of Profession for Sex Crimes. The Commander has a key role in focusing Local Area Commands and Regions response to this crime type through State-wide monitoring.

The aim of the Squad

  • Investigate sex crimes that are protracted, complex, serial and serious in nature.
  • Identify crime trends, and develop Operational Strategies, Programs and Policies.
  • Maintain the Child Protection Register in accordance with Legislative and Policy requirements.
  • Provide consultancy in local investigations if necessary.

The Squad includes:

The Child Exploitation Internet Unit

The Child Exploitation Internet Unit investigates the sexual exploitation of children, which is facilitated through the use of the internet and telecommunication systems.

The Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU):

  • Maintains professional networks with other State, National and International Law Enforcement bodies and external agencies involved in the investigation of computer facilitated sexual exploitation of children.

    The CEIU also provides a Help Desk service.
  • Conducts both proactive and reactive investigations to identify persons utilising the internet to groom and procure children for sexual exploitation
  • Conducts investigations into the production, dissemination and possession of images of child sexual exploitation (child pornography) facilitated by the internet and telecommunication systems.
  • Coordinates the NSW Police response to matters relating to child sexual exploitation referred from external law enforcement agencies.
  • Provides assistance, specialist advice and technical support to State Crime Command and Local Area Commands relating to the investigation of child sexual exploitation facilitated by the internet or telecommunication systems.
  • Assists with community awareness and education on the safe use of the internet.
Contacting The Unit

The unit does not take calls directly from members of the public. Matters in the first instance should be directed through your local police station or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000. Email: ceiu@police.nsw.gov.au

NSW Police Force Child Wellbeing Unit

The Child Wellbeing Unit for NSWPF commenced  on Sunday 24 January 2010. Police, along with Education, Health, and Human  Services, have established Child Wellbeing Units to support frontline workers  to help children who are in need but not at risk of significant harm. A total  of 100 staff have been appointed to run the four units.

The role of the Police Child Wellbeing Unit  is to help police officers identify whether a child is at risk of significant  harm and therefore has to be referred to Community Services. If a child does  not meet this new threshold, the Unit will help officers link the child and  family to services and help from other government and community based agencies.

The new system is about sharing  responsibility for keeping children safe across government agencies and the  community so that more children and families get the support they need before  they reach crisis point. Over 60 per cent of these reports are made by  government agencies with over 30 per cent from Police alone, mainly due to  domestic violence.

These reforms are part of’ Keep Them Safe,’  the Government's plan to reform the NSW child protection system following  recommendations made by James Wood in his 2008 inquiry into the system.

The Police Child Wellbeing Unit is staffed by  Child Wellbeing Assessment Officers. They have backgrounds and qualifications  in child protection and include officers with UK child protection experience  and qualified social workers. They will be supervised by team leaders with  recent operational backgrounds who are experienced in domestic violence  supervision and child protection.

The CWU is an internal service to NSWPF employees who are reporting children who do not meet the new risk of significant harm threshold.

For all urgent matters regarding a child at imminent risk of significant harm please phone the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 or 000.

Social Networking Sites and Police Advice

Public Warnings

The following information has been provided  to assist users and parents address some of the many issues and risks  associated with using the internet.  Due to the nature and speed at which  the internet can change, this advice cannot be exhaustive.  As these  issues change frequently, the best defence is education - remaining aware of the vulnerabilities  the internet presents.

Settings

Check the settings on your social networking  page, change it so only those you know and trust can see anything about you.  Check it regularly as the settings may be changed by the Host site. Be aware  that even though your settings may be secure, your fiend’s settings may not be  the same which can leave you vulnerable.

Profile

Review the profile you have placed on line.  How much does it reveal about you and are you happy for everyone to know all  this about you?

Details

Don’t put your photo, contact details or your  current school on your profile.  If you need to, give these details out to  people you know and trust. What you place on the internet is no longer private  and is no longer under your control.  Others may use it for any purpose  they wish

Sending Images over the Phone

It is a criminal offence to take, transmit or  possess images that are considered child pornography (of a person under 18  years) and may attract a penalty of up to 10 years gaol.

The consequences of taking private  photographs of yourself and sending them could cause you and your family a  great deal of embarrassment for a very long time.  Once you have sent them you have no control  of where they go or what they are used for.   More importantly you can’t get them back even if you want to.
If you receive something inappropriate, don’t  delete it and tell your parents or an adult that you trust as soon as possible.  If you continue to receive this type of material, tell the sender to stop. If  need be, change your phone number.

Parents - Learn From Your Children

Ask your child to show you what they look at  on line, discuss the risks involved.   Look at their profile and the list of friends. Are you comfortable with  what is on display?

Mobile Phones

Access to social networking sites can also be  done via mobile phones, it is important the skills are applied to all access,  parents can’t be looking over their children’s shoulders all the time.

'Send' is Definite

Once you have hit the send button, all of  your information is available for many to see.  Depending on the material,  this may be humiliating, causing embarrassment for you and your family.

The Internet is here to stay, we have to  accept it and learn about its vulnerabilities.

Cyber Bullying

It is common for cyber bullying to take place  on social networking sites. Often cyber bullying escalates from conflict that  begins in a school environment. The content of cyber bullying messages are  taunting and insulting and often result with similar messages being sent  back.   While these matters cause a significant amount of stress and  anxiety for the victims and parents, the actions rarely amount to a criminal  offence.  If you are being bullied on-line or by mobile phone: 

  • Tell your parents
  • Tell your school
  • Tell your site
  • Tell the police if it escalates  to threats of violence

The following sites offer further information  and advice on these issues: www.cybersmart.gov.au

Child Protection Register

The Child Protection Registry has been established to monitor and maintain the New South Wales Police Child Protection Register, as per the Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act 2000.

Under this Act, persons convicted of a nominated violent or sexual offence against a child will be required to register at the police station in the locality in which they reside, within 28 days of sentencing, release from custody or entering NSW after being found guilty of a registrable offence in another jurisdiction. Registrable persons will be required to provide police with certain personal information, travel plans and any changes to this information. The period of registration is for a minimum of eight years for an adult, four years for a juvenile offender and it is an offence not to register or to provide police with false information.

The management of registrable information is coordinated by the Child Protection Registry, State Crime Command. The monitoring and investigation of registrable persons and offences under the Act will be undertaken by Local Area Commands (LACs) and the Sex Crimes Squad (SCS), State Crime Command.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is child pornography?

A. The Child Exploitation Internet Unit along with other Law Enforcement Agencies and organisations dealing with the protection of children both within Australia and overseas do not generally refer to this type of material as child pornography. They refer to this material as child sexual exploitation material. It is material that contains images of real children being sexually exploited at the point the image or movie is produced, they are crime scene pictures and should be considered in this fashion.

The definition of child pornography is contained within the NSW Crimes Act Section 91H (1).

The Commonwealth legislation also has a definition of child pornography for use with any Commonwealth offences. Please click on the link for this definition: Definition of Child Pornography - Commonwealth.

Q. What is the current NSW legislation concerning child pornography?

A. It is an offence to produce, disseminate or possess child pornography. These offences are detailed in the NSW Crimes Act Section 91H. For the purpose of this Act a child is someone who is under 16 years of age.

Q. What about child pornography over the Internet?

A. It is an offence to access, transmit, publish, distribute, possess, supply or produce child pornography or child abuse material through a carriage service. The Internet is a carriage service.

For the purpose of these offences a child is someone who is under the age of 18 years.

Q. I have just received an email containing either child pornographic material or links to child pornography websites (often Spam Emails) on my computer. What should I do?

A. Do not open any attachments associated with the email or click on any links. It should be reported in the first instance to the Australian Communications & Media Authority [ACMA].

To access the ACMA website click on the following link: http://www.acma.gov.au

Q. What is 'online procuring and grooming'?

A. Online Procuring is where an adult contacts a child online (usually via the Internet or mobile telephone) and by the words and actions during this contact encourage, entice, recruit or induce the child to engage in sexual activity. Online Grooming is conducted in a similar fashion and is often a preliminary step to procuring, where the adult through the words and actions attempt to lower the child's inhibitions regarding sexual activity or heighten their curiosity by sending pornographic material or talking about sexual matters.

Q. How does 'online procuring and grooming' work?

A. The online contact usually occurs in on line chat rooms and/ or social networking sites. Adults with an established sexual interest in children will frequently go to chat rooms that are known to be popular with children (e.g. Yahoo & MSN). They will generally attempt to keep up to date with all the latest fashions in clothes, music and sport so they can either pass themselves off as another child or as an adult who is in tune with children's interests. The adult might identify a younger, more naive or vulnerable child in a chat room, and they will make them the focus of their attention. They will have the child believe that they are their 'special friend'.

The initial contact may quickly move from an open, public or semi-public chat room, to a private chat room, then onto email, web cam, to SMS text messaging via mobile phones, instant messaging, and then to direct voice contact via a fixed or mobile phone, or even by voice over the internet. Eventually the adult may try to organise a face-to-face meeting with the child.

Online 'groomers' often use child pornography or other pornography to 'groom' the child, it is shown to lower the child's inhibitions concerning sexual activity and to generate conversation regarding such activity.

Q. What do I do if my child is being procured or groomed by someone over the internet?

A. Call your local police as soon as possible and report the matter to them. Do not delete or remove anything from the computer or mobile telephone.