Newsletter - March 2019

ACCCE quarterly

Working together to counter online child exploitation

Andrew Colvin and stakeholders

AFP Commissioner, Andrew Colvin, Deputy Commissioner, Karl Kent, and National Manager Crime Operations, Debbie Platz with key stakeholders at the Civil Society Stakeholder Workshop in 2018

Who we are

The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) was established in 2018 by the Australian Government to coordinate a collaborative national response to counter the online exploitation of children across Australia.

While currently in a developmental phase, the ACCCE in its maturity will bring together highly experienced specialists from law enforcement in collaboration with subject matter experts from diverse fields including non-government organisations, industry representatives and academics.

The ACCCE is currently in the process of procuring a new office in Brisbane, tailored to user requirements, and which will provide a place of partnership and shared resources for those committed to countering online child exploitation. The ACCCE is conducting Working Groups and gathering specialised stakeholder input to ensure the centre achieves its goal to be a leader in countering child exploitation.

The realisation of the ACCCE will enable:

  • the sharing of research, evidence, and information on victims and offenders
  • increased capacity and access to tools to identify victims
  • coordinated resources to identify developing exploitative activities
  • increased resources and efficiencies
  • the creation and support of initiatives (such as conferences, workgroups, online forums)
  • research into future capabilities and technologies, and
  • consistency in content for education, training and information campaigns.

Learn more about the ACCCE.

A quote on the ACCCE

ACCCE Logo "It’s still early days for the ACCCE but the results are outstanding. I am really looking forward to watching the ACCCE develop in the coming years as I know it will be a world leader in child protection operations."

, Commissioner AFP, November 2018

ACCCE events

Engaging to prevent child exploitation

In September 2018, the ACCCE met with 16 key non-government organisations and government agencies that work towards preventing child exploitation. The meeting heard from the National Office for Child Safety on their work in countering child exploitation, and the Office of the eSafety Commissioner in regard to broader online safety. The group workshopped risks, challenges and opportunities, to identify areas of priority for ACCCE coordination and collaboration.

Meeting outcomes included recommendations for the creation of three distinct Working Groups in relation to education, awareness and research, along with a National Board of Advisors on Prevention. These working groups and the Board of Advisors are progressing, with the first Working Groups currently under way.

New approaches to reducing child exploitation material

The ACCCE and the Australian Institute for Criminology (AIC) co-hosted the Child Exploitation Material (CEM) Reduction Research Program Roundtable in Brisbane in October 2018.

The Roundtable brought together more than 90 academics, non-government organisations, industry, and state and territory police representatives to discuss countering child exploitation. This included a number of presentations and 'speed' networking opportunities focusing on prevention and removing victims from harm, and identifying new approaches to reduce child exploitation material.

Peter Dutton and Associates

From left: Deputy Director of the Australian Institute for Criminology, Dr Rick Brown, Deputy Commissioner Operations, Neil Gaughan, Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon. Peter Dutton MP, and Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission and Director of the Australian Institute of Criminology, Michael Phelan, at the roundtable

The roundtable was officially opened by the Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon. Peter Dutton MP, Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission (ACIC) Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Michael Phelan APM, and AFP Deputy Commissioner Operations, Neil Gaughan.

Funding recipients announced

The roundtable invited applications for funding by the Child Exploitation Material Reduction Research Program (CEMRRP) to conduct best practice research projects.

The CEMRRP seeks to reduce the production, distribution, storage, and viewing of child exploitation material (CEM). The program was established by the AIC in collaboration with the ACCCE, with funding of $800,000 over two years under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

The successful research projects have just been announced.

Minister for Home Affairs, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, said:

“Research from these projects will help to identify new solutions to this critical issue, and ultimately reduce exploitation of children".

The successful research projects are:

  • Griffith University, University of New South Wales and Michigan State University – ‘Boosting Crime Prevention and Crime Detection Capabilities of Online Investigators: A Script Analysis of Creation and Distribution of Child Exploitation Material’.
  • The University of Adelaide, Flinders University, San Jose State University and Michigan State University –  ‘Developing automated audio and facial recognition biometrics tools for detecting child exploitation material’.
  • Griffith University and Queensland PoliceDeveloping a protocol to assist police who pose as juveniles to proactively engage online sex offenders’.
  • The University of Tasmania, LaTrobe University, University College London and the University of Canberra – ‘Automated internet warnings to prevent the uploading of child exploitation material produced by children and young adults’.
  • Swinburne University and Monash University – ‘Preventing repeat child exploitation material offending: A two-tiered psychological intervention approach’.
  • University of New South Wales and Queensland Police – ‘Understanding the role of parents in the creation and dissemination of child exploitation material (CEM) of their children’.
  • University of Queensland and Queensland University of Technology – ‘Criminal justice responses to child exploitation material offending: A systematic review and interactive evidence and gap map’.
  • The University of the Sunshine Coast – ‘Leading evidence-informed Child Exploitation Material (CEM) Reduction’.

Ten years of ThinkUKnow


ThinkUKnow, Australia’s only law enforcement-led online safety program, celebrated its 10 year anniversary and launched its 2019 national training rollout in February at the ACCCE in Brisbane. The ThinkUKnow program is an AFP-led initiative, delivered nationally by volunteers and presenters from law enforcement and industry organisations.

ThinkUKnow was launched in Australia on 9 February 2009 as a response to an increase in child exploitation reports and a lack of online safety information available to parents, carers and teachers, all of whom have a key role to play in preventing the online child exploitation . The program now reaches more than 200,000 students and 17,000 parents, carers, and teachers a year.

The need for the program is highlighted by the increasing number of reports of child exploitation received by the AFP each year, with almost 18,000 received in 2018 alone.

The ThinkUKnow 2019 national training rollout includes revised content based on information provided by the ACCCE to address changing issues and trends in child exploitation activities, with a strong focus on app ‘features’ and functionality to assist parents and carers to identify whether these apps are suitable for their family.

ThinkUKnow celebrations

Online Child Safety Team Trainer, Clint Bopping, Queensland Police Commander Community Engagement Group Superintendent, Peter Brewer, National Manager Crime Operations, Debbie Platz, and AFP Online Child Safety Team Leader, Simone McKeough at the event

AFP Deputy Commissioner Operations, Neil Gaughan, said:

“I congratulate the ThinkUKnow program on 10 years, its members, volunteers, and all those who have been part of the journey. It’s a tremendous achievement of which you should all be proud.”

The program is supported by 800 registered volunteers. Volunteers receive training and commit to delivering a minimum of three presentations a year, at times and locations convenient to them.

For further information about ThinkUKnow please contact the Online Child Safety Team -

A safety tip from ThinkUKnow

Make sure your child feels comfortable talking to you about issues they might be experiencing online,
and they know how to report and get support.

International efforts

Virtual Global Taskforce

The first bi-annual meeting of the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) for 2019 was opened on 5 February in Sydney by AFP Deputy Commissioner Operations, Neil Gaughan.

Representatives were welcomed from Canada (the current VGT Chair), Japan, USA, UK, Ireland, Europol, Interpol, Netherlands, UAE and Australia. The VGT was established in 2003, and is an international collaboration of law enforcement agencies, non-government organisations and industry partners aimed at protecting children from sexual abuse and exploitation.

The three-day meeting included member country updates, presentations and discussions designed to build capacity and share mutual understanding to address child sexual exploitation, and included key priorities around the issues of the health and wellness of employees working within this crime type.

Virtual Global Taskforce members

Members of the Virtual Global Taskforce meeting in Sydney

The ACCCE in South East Asia

The ACCCE continues to support international efforts in relation to child sexual exploitation (CSE) in the wider South East Asian region. This includes:

  • the recent hosting of a CSE Regional Dialogue in Manila, the Philippines, from 26 to 28 February 2019, where outcomes included agreement on establishing a platform for the exchange of best practice in combating child exploitation of relevance to Southeast Asia
  • providing support for an anti-child exploitation themed Asian Regional Law Enforcement Management Program (ARLEMP) in June 2019
  • undertaking joint training activities with the Indonesian National Police (INP) through the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Cooperation (JCLEC) on anti-child exploitation
  • assisting in bringing the new Philippines Internet Crimes Against Children Centre (PICACC) in Manila to operational readiness, including a commitment by the Australian Government of more than $120,000 to combat online child exploitation both domestically and within the region, with the PICACC officially opened on 27 February 2019.
  • continuing to explore opportunities to build CSE investigational capacity offshore, including a proposed CSE training program in Cambodia in mid-2019.

Farewells and welcomes

Farewell to Commander Lesa GaleCommander Lesa Gale

The ACCCE is sad to farewell our Manager, Commander Lesa Gale.

Commander Gale has done a wonderful job establishing the Centre, (although she would argue that this was a group effort), including the initial implementation, the launch in September 2018, the ACCCE website, and establishing the governing structure to enable the ACCCE to transition to business as usual.

We look forward to continuing to work with Commander Gale in her new role as Assistant Commissioner – National Manager Protection Operations.

Commander Justine GoughWelcome to Commander Justine Gough

We are pleased to announce the role of Manager will now be in the very capable hands of Commander Justine Gough. Justine’s role as Manager Child Protection will expand to include management of the ACCCE.

Commander Gough has been a member of the AFP since 1990. She holds Masters Degrees in Psychology and Terrorism, Safety & Security, and a Graduate Diploma in Dispute Resolution.

During her career with the AFP, Commander Gough has worked in a variety of fields, including federal fraud and narcotics investigations, counter-terrorism, offshore and sensitive investigations, intelligence, and high tech crime operations.

Her prior roles include District Superintendent and acting Deputy Chief Police Officer for Crime and Response portfolios, AFP Senior Liaison Officer Hong Kong, with country responsibilities for Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan. Since 2017, Commander Gough has been Manager Crime Operations for the AFP. We are excited to have Commander Gough and her wealth of experience at the helm of the ACCCE.

ACCCE LogoDid you know?

The ACCCE logo represents the centre as a collaboration between law enforcement, government, non-government organisations, industry, academia and community.

The multi-coloured lines represent the ‘network’ of multi-agency involvement – the lines begin from different points before coming together to create a cohesive entity. They also create an arch that represents protection, and a ‘space’ that evokes a collaborative place where we can work together towards a world without online child exploitation.

Upcoming Events

3 May
Foundation ACE
Support the newly established Foundation ACE (Foundation Against Child Exploitation) at their fundraising event in Melbourne. Foundation ACE aims to combat the online child sexual exploitation industry through education and awareness, supporting and assisting law enforcement, support for victims, and advocacy.

25 May
International Missing Children’s Day
The AFP's National Missing Persons Coordination Centre will again be leading the global effort in support of International Missing Children’s Day. Find out how you can support this movement.

15 June
Starry Starry Night
Support the Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s annual fundraising gala ball while raising funds to build a safer world for children.

Contact the ACCCE

Only by working together can we combat the online exploitation of children.

If you think a child is in immediate danger call Triple Zero (000), Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000, or your local police.

Visit for details on how to report crime.

Ask the ACCCE a question, provide feedback or suggest content for future newsletters at

ACCCE LogoVision: Children are free from exploitation
Mission: To drive a collaborative national response to counter the exploitation of children


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