Press Release

A tragic reminder of the importance of child protection work

Every day our team at ICMEC Australia shows up with one goal – to find more ways to help detect, report, prosecute and prevent child sexual abuse and exploitation.

At the heart of that goal is the protection of children from harm and, whilst we always keep this in mind, occasionally we receive a firm reminder of why we do the work we do.

The joint statement from the AFP, QPS and NSWPF on operation Tenterfield is one such reminder.


ICMEC Australia Board Director and Former Head, Task force Argos, Jon Rouse APM provides comment on announcement of Operation Tenterfield

Yesterday the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Queensland Police Service and NSW Police released a joint statement on an investigation that resulted in a man being charged with 1623 child abuse offences against 91 children. The full account of this investigation, Operation Tenterfield, can be found in the joint media release.

ICMEC Australia extends our deepest sympathy to everyone affected by these horrific acts. We also extend our sincere thanks and acknowledgement to all those involved in Operation Tenterfield, as well as the many partners working to combat child sexual exploitation.

This shocking news further highlights the need for greater awareness of this crime, and for continued collaboration not just within law enforcement, but also across all sectors who have a critical role to play protecting children from harm.

The following comments in relation to the issue of child sexual abuse, highlighted by Operation Tenterfield can be attributed to Jon Rouse APM, ICMEC Australia Board Member and former Head, Task force Argos:

“Yesterday’s announcement will understandably cause a great deal of community concern and raise many questions. Child sexual abuse affects far too many families globally. The more we as a society are prepared to have open conversations about this issue, the more children we can protect from this horrendous crime.”

“My thoughts are with all families involved and with the State and Federal investigative teams who are to be commended for their dedication. The nations Victim Identification teams, many of whom are parents of young children themselves, provided expert investigative capability that was crucial in achieving this outcome”.

“The most important message I can relay to parents, carers and guardians is that if your child discloses, please believe them, support them, and engage with investigators as soon as possible”.

“A protracted, and as with many cases involving the internet, global law enforcement effort was critical in this outcome, however collaboration extends beyond law enforcement. Many organisations have a role to play, particularly when the crime involves online child sexual abuse material (CSAM). Cross-industry collaboration, such as between law enforcement and financial services institutions, will result in piecing together the puzzle to save children.”

The following comments can be attributed to ICMEC Australia CEO, Anna Bowden:

“As someone with lived experience of child sexual abuse, and with two young daughters of my own, I am sending thoughts to the many victim-survivors and their families involved. This case demonstrates the need to continue our fight to protect children, and ramp up the public discussion, so we can shed more light on these atrocities, and confront them”.

“This announcement has just reinforced our commitment to support better detection, reporting and prevention of this heinous crime. I would like to thank our partners in law enforcement, financial crime, regulation and child protection agencies for their tireless commitment to saving children from abuse and exploitation.”


About ICMEC Australia

ICMEC Australia ( is a not-for-profit that brings together government, law enforcement, NGOs and commercial entities to develop data products and collaborative actions to reduce the volume of child exploitation crimes within and from Australia. ICMEC Australia supports data and technology driven solutions that facilitate stakeholders in collecting and combining digital evidence of online facilitated sexual crimes against children.

Media contact:
Karen Porter
Head of Marketing & Communications
ICMEC Australia