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Disseminate Child Abuse Material (CAM)

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Committing the offence of Possessing, Disseminating, or Producing Child Abuse Material is punishable under section 91H of the Crimes Act 1900, carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment.

To establish the offence, the prosecution must prove beyond reasonable doubt that you:

1. Possessed, disseminated, or produced material,
2. The material in question qualifies as child abuse material.  

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the options below to learn the answers to frequently asked questions about Disseminate Child Abuse Material (CAM)

Section 91H provides defences for the offence of “production, dissemination, or possession of child abuse material.”

This section is structured as follows:

91H Production, dissemination, or possession of child abuse material
(1) Within this section:

– “Disseminate” child abuse material includes:
(a) Sending, supplying, exhibiting, transmitting, or communicating it to another person, or
(b) Making it available for access by another person, or
(c) Entering into any agreement or arrangement to carry out any of the above actions.

(2) An individual who produces, disseminates, or possesses child abuse material commits an offence.

The maximum penalty for this offence is imprisonment for 10 years.

(3) Proceedings for an offence under this section involving a child or young person can only be initiated by or with the approval of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

  • Sending, supplying, exhibiting, transmitting, or communicating the material to another person,
  • Making it available for access by another person, and
  • Entering into an agreement or arrangement to perform any of the aforementioned actions.

‘Child abuse material’ refers to content that, in a manner reasonable individuals would find offensive, depicts or describes:

1. The intimate body parts of a person who is, appears to be, or is implied to be a child, or

2. A person who is, appears to be, or is implied to be a child:

3. As a victim of torture, cruelty, or physical abuse, or

4. Engaged in or apparently engaged in a sexual pose or sexual activity, or in the presence of another person who is engaged in or apparently engaged in a sexual pose or sexual activity.

When determining whether material is offensive to a reasonable person, the following factors must be considered:

1. The prevailing standards of morality, decency, and propriety accepted by reasonable adults.

2. The potential literary, artistic, or educational value (if any) of the material.

3. The journalistic value (if any) of the material.

4. The overall character of the material.

‘Private parts’ are defined as:

  • The genital or anal area, whether exposed or covered by underwear, or
  • The breasts of a female, transgender, or intersex person identifying as female, whether developed or not.

For the offence, a ‘child’ is considered a person under the age of 16 years.

1. You were unaware, and there were no reasonable means for you to know that you possessed, disseminated, or produced such material.

2. Your actions aimed to benefit the public through law enforcement, administration, or the administration of justice, and did not extend beyond that scope.

3. The material received a classification for publication.

4. The use of the material was approved by the Attorney-General for research purposes.

5. The material depicts you and would not be considered child abuse material in the absence of your image.

An additional defence for possessing child abuse material is when you received it unsolicited and promptly took reasonable steps to dispose of it upon becoming aware of its nature.

An exception to the offence is when:

1. The possession of the material occurred when you were under 18, and

2. A reasonable person would consider the possession acceptable, taking into account:

  • The nature and content of the material,
  • The circumstances under which you came to possess it,
  • The age, vulnerability, and circumstances of the child depicted,
  • Your age, vulnerability, and circumstances, and
  • The relationship between you and the child depicted.

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