AFP-led ThinkUKnow Program Enhances Online Safety Education for Young People and Families

Australia, Police

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The AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) is taking an important step towards enhancing online safety education for young people and families. The ACCCE has announced the launch of updated presentations as part of the award-winning AFP-led ThinkUKnow program.

ThinkUKnow is a nationally delivered education program aimed at preventing online child sexual exploitation, in collaboration with state and territory police and industry partners. The updated presentations cover crucial topics such as privacy, self-generated child abuse material, online grooming, sexual extortion, and the significance of help-seeking behaviors.

The need for such education programs is evident as the AFP-led ACCCE Child Protection Triage Unit received a staggering 40,232 reports of online child sexual exploitation in the 2022-23 financial year, showing an increase from the previous year’s 36,600 reports.

In the same financial year, ThinkUKnow presentations were successfully delivered to 17,756 parents, carers, and teachers, reaching an estimated 209,544 students across Australia. These presentations have been developed based on current research, intelligence, case studies, and real-life reports received by the ACCCE and other relevant authorities.

The AFP Commander Human Exploitation Helen Schneider emphasized the importance of evidence-based programs that adapt to the ever-changing online environment. Commander Schneider stated, “These presentations aim to help children and young people, parents and carers to face the online challenges of today, to protect them into tomorrow.”

The ThinkUKnow presentations are revised every two years to ensure the content remains current and relevant. With over 1200 volunteers and presenters from state and territory police, AFP, and industry partners, including the Commonwealth Bank, Datacom, Microsoft, and Neighbourhood Watch Australasia, the success of the ThinkUKnow program relies heavily on their dedication and hard work.

The program delivers presentations to parents, carers, and teachers by industry and law enforcement volunteers, while children and young people receive presentations from AFP and state and territory police. These presentations focus on raising awareness about online child sexual exploitation, providing updated information on self-generated child abuse material, online grooming, sexual extortion, and crucially, where to seek help and support.

To ensure age-appropriate and relevant content, the presentations have been linked to the current Australian Curriculum. Schools and community groups can book presentations for students, parents, and carers through the ThinkUKnow website.

In addition to this initiative, the AFP and eSafety recently launched a suite of education resources aimed at facilitating conversations about online child safety within culturally and linguistically diverse families.

The AFP-led ACCCE is committed to combatting child abuse and online exploitation, bringing together expertise and skills to develop prevention strategies and support investigations into online child sexual exploitation.

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