A Dubbo teenager is among 19 people from across the state who have been arrested during a police operation targeting online grooming and child abuse material offences.
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At roughly 8.30am on Tuesday, September 5, Orana Mid-Western Police District officers searched a Dubbo home and found a number of electronic devices, which they allege contain a large amount of child abuse material.
A 19-year-old man was arrested and taken to Dubbo Police Station, where he was charged with five counts of use carriage service to access child abuse material. He was refused bail to appear at Dubbo Local Court, where he was formally bail refused to reappear at the same court on Thursday, December 21, 2023.
The police operation, which led to arrests at various locations including Tamworth, Rouse Hill, Queanbeyan and Homebush, coincided with National Child Protection Week.
Officers across NSW and the State Crime Command's Sex Crimes Squad's Child Exploitation Internet Unit (CEIU) ran a 'Week of Action', focusing on ongoing investigations relating to online grooming and procurement offences, and possession of child abuse material.
Sex Crimes Squad Commander, Detective Superintendent Jayne Doherty APM, said the arrests demonstrate the dedication of officers to protect the children of NSW.
"There are multiple arrests every day in NSW for alleged offences whereby children are at the centre of the matter. This is a topic we cannot just stay silent over - the safety and protection of children of this state should be at the front of everyone's minds," he said.
"Once again this is a timely reminder for parents and carers to be conscious of what they share online. Images shared online can seem innocent to most parents and carers, but to online predators, they can be exploited for their own personal gratification.
"This year's theme for National Child Protection Week is 'Where we start matters' - parents and carers must ask themselves every day how they can better educate their children about online dangers from an early age. If parents need guidance, they can look to the ThinkUKnow site for up-to-date information and advice.
"Conversations online can quickly turn into a scary and dangerous place, so parents need to be aware of the forums and applications their children are using.
"It's also about how we model our behaviours to show children how best to use social media and websites. Start talking to your children about what content you can safely share."
For more information about National Child Protection Week, visit www.napcan.org.au/ncpw.
More information and educational packages for parents and children are available from ThinkUKnow, including the award-winning children's picture book about online safety Jack Changes the Game. ThinkUKnow is an AFP program designed to educate and promote online child safety: https://www.thinkuknow.org.au/.
eSafety has a range of advice and resources to help parents and caregivers keep kids safe online: www.esafety.gov.au/parents.
Anyone with concerns about suspected child abuse or exploitation should call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or use the Crime Stoppers online reporting page: https://nsw.crimestoppers.com.au.
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