Mr Andrew Hawkins – Deputy Headmaster – Head of Senior School
Last week at Assembly we presented a $1500 cheque to the Morcombe Foundation. Current academic teacher, Mr Mike Wallace, was a teacher at Siena College on the Sunshine Coast in 2003 when Daniel was abducted. Retired Principal, Mr Graham Hight, who was the Siena College Principal at the time of Daniel’s disappearance, accepted Mr Wallace’s invitation to speak at our assembly and accept the cheque on behalf of the Morcombe Foundation.
Mr Hight’s presentation was a strong reminder that Daniel was 14 years of age when he went missing. We must remind ourselves that while some of our students look like adults, they lack knowledge and experience that comes with adulthood. The Morcombe’s have worked so hard to increase awareness across the country around student safety and we are always educating our boys on what is right and what is wrong behaviour from adults and others.
Minister for Home Affairs, the Honourable Mike Dutton, released a media statement recently that highlighted the new facility opened to counter child exploitation. I have included some of the press release as it explains the initiative in more detail. Like Daniel Morcombe accepting an invitation for a lift in a car while waiting for his bus, many of our young people are naive to the anti-social behaviours of adults online. Agencies such as this are being designed to support and protect students and what they share online across various platforms.
The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) has been officially opened in Brisbane today, reflecting the Government’s ongoing commitment to combatting child exploitation.
The new purpose-built facility brings together resources from government and Commonwealth agencies, law-enforcement, non-government organisations, and other partners in a centralised hub to prevent and disrupt the online sexual exploitation of children. Minister Dutton said the sexual abuse and exploitation of children has become more global, prevalent and extreme.
“The ACCCE delivers an unprecedented capability not held by any single agency in Australia, allowing for greater innovation and collaboration to combat these heinous crimes,” Mr Dutton said. “Technological advances, such as end-to-end encryption, pose significant challenges for law enforcement. “The opening of this new facility ensures our specialists have the tools and capabilities needed to protect children in Australia and overseas.”
From 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020, the ACCCE received more than 21,000 incoming reports of child exploitation – compared to more than 14,000 reports in the 2018-2019 financial year. Last financial year, 134 children were removed from harm thanks to the partnerships of the ACCCE and the efforts of dedicated police officers and specialists.
Operation Molto, the latest ACCCE-coordinated operation involving all Australian State and Territory police, targeted offenders sharing some of the most abhorrent child abuse material circulating online. This is the third major operation since the inception of the ACCCE, and resulted in a combined total of 87 offenders charged with 1,266 offences, and 24 children removed from harm.
“I commend the dedication of our specialists who work tirelessly to ensure these crimes have no place in our society,” Mr Dutton said. The Coalition Government has committed $68.6 million over four years to establish the ACCCE under the Home Affairs portfolio, led by the
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