Why it Matters
While the damaging impact of online child abuse material is well known it is not well researched. Families are being torn apart and lives are being changed forever.
We simply must put the protection of children above all else.
This government is to be commended for some legislative and policy reform in this area. However, there is much more that we can do.
- More resources need to be allocated to sexual abuse task-forces within Victoria Police, to enable broader investigations to take place which are focussed on both prosecuting the offenders and identifying victims.
- A specific taskforce focussed on the investigation of online child exploitation and abuse needs to be established to proactively uncover perpetrators of internet crime.
- Child protection and family law systems must all be overhauled to ensure the best interests of children come first.
- Increase funding to organisations that support those affected by child sexual abuse material, such as PartnerSPEAK, including funding a 24 hour helpline for non-offending partners and families of perpetrators of child exploitation material.
- I also believe that we can do more to encourage women to speak up against child sexual abusers they identify within their own families or social networks.
- “Bringing child abuse material into the family home” should be recognised as a form of “family violence” under the Family Violence Protection Act 2008
What I’ve Done
I take the protection of children seriously. So seriously in fact that during my term in parliament I lost my marriage over this very issue. Two years ago, I discovered that my husband had an extensive collection of child exploitation material (also known as child pornography). I informed the Police and left him immediately. He subsequently spent time in prison for his crimes and I continue to pray that the children who were exploited in the production of this material will be identified, rescued and given a pathway for healing.
I have worked very closely with PartnerSPEAK to support families affected by child sexual abuse material.
(Natalie Walker, the Founder of PartnerSPEAK meeting with Dr Rachel Carling-Jenkins)