Q. What is child abuse material?

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 abuse material is contained within the NSW Crimes Act Section 91H (1).

The Commonwealth legislation also has a definition of child abuse material 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 abuse material?

A. It is an offence to produce, disseminate or possess child abuse material. 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 abuse material over the Internet?

A. It is an offence to access, transmit, publish, distribute, possess, supply or produce 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 abuse material or links to child abuse material 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.