Child exploitation material offences

Looking at sentencing outcomes between 1 July 2006 and 30 June 2016, our Sentencing Spotlight on child exploitation material (CEM) offences found:

Court and diversion

  • 3035 offenders — responsible for 8198 CEM related offences — were dealt with by the criminal justice system over the 10-year period
  • 1470 children were dealt with by Queensland Police Service (QPS) via a caution or conference
  • 1565 offenders were sentenced in Queensland courts (including 28 children)

Diversion (dealt with by QPS)

  • offences dealt with by QPS by way of caution or conference fell into three Queensland offence categories, possession (35.4%), distribution (34.4%) and production (29.7%). Only 0.5% were Commonwealth offences
  • children were predominantly diverted by QPS for sexting-based offences
  • male offenders comprised 54.8% while female offenders comprised 45.2% of children diverted
  • 159 (10.8%) children diverted were Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • the average age of children dealt with by QPS diversion was 14.8 years
  • of all children diverted by QPS, the vast majority were dealt with via a formal caution (92.9%), with only 7.1% attending a youth justice conference


  • offenders dealt with in court were mostly in relation to possession (49.5%), followed by offences under Commonwealth legislation (34.3%)
  • male offenders comprised 98.5% of those sentenced in court
  • 57 (3.6%) of offenders were Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • the average age of offenders was 39.9 years
  • two-thirds of offenders in court were dealt with solely for CEM offences
  • 354 offenders (22.6%) were sentenced for CEM offences in conjunction with other, more serious offending, the majority of which was contact offending
  • almost all defendants sentenced in court for CEM offences pleaded guilty (97.5%)
  • of all offenders sentenced in court, the majority (78.1%) received a custodial penalty of some sort. Most of these were a suspended sentence of imprisonment (72.4%)
  • the median custodial duration received for a CEM offence (where it was the most serious offence) was 11.8 months.

Download the Spotlight (PDF, 901.6 KB)

Read the media release