26 September 2023

Police reveal predators’ codes

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The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has issued a glossary of terms used by sex predators in their efforts to groom children.

The collection of acronyms and emojis has been developed from information contained in investigations and reports undertaken by the AFP-led Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) and AFP child protection teams across Australia.

AFP Commander for the ACCCE, Hilda Sirec said many students had received their own tablets and mobile phones for the first time ahead of their return to school, and some might start receiving unsolicited text messages or emails.

“This resource has been produced to help educate parents and carers about the tactics of child sexual predators, some of whom use acronyms or language to escape adult detection or pretend to be a young person to encourage communication,” Commander Sirec said.

“Young people can be coerced by adults or peers to take naked pictures of themselves and send those images via email or text,” she said.

“These images are hard to contain once transmitted and the damage and stigma caused can be life-long.”

Commander Sirec said there was a growing trend of self-produced child exploitation material.

“These images, which are often being posted online without the knowledge or permission of the victim, are also being identified in the child abuse material held by child sex offenders,” she said.

“While the glossary may provide insight for parents and carers, it also enables parents to ask their children to let them know if they are receiving certain terms or emojis in an email or text.”

She said the glossary was not a definite or exhaustive list of terms and some terms could mean different things.

“Predators have schooled themselves in the language of emojis, emoticons and acronyms in order to groom their victims, and the AFP is urging all parents and carers to familiarise themselves with this glossary,” Commander Sirec said.

AFP’s glossary acronyms and emojis can be accessed at this PS News link.

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