Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Parliamentary Joint Committee on Law Enforcement
Law enforcement capabilities in relation to child exploitation

HULLEY, Mr Glen, Founding Chief Executive Officer, Project Karma [by video link]


CHAIR: Welcome. Thank you very much for joining us today. I really enjoyed reading your submission. Project Karma sounds like it's doing some incredible work; congratulations. This is a public hearing, and everything you say will be made public and broadcast. If you wish to provide us with confidential evidence, you're quite welcome to but you've got to give me a heads-up. It is an act of contempt against the Senate to give false or misleading evidence, so I remind you of your responsibilities in that regard.

We've got your submission and we've read through it. We're very keen to ask questions, but you're very welcome to make an opening statement for five minutes to give us your thoughts on priorities.

Mr Hulley : Project Karma is a registered Australian charity that started in 2016 and has branched out to become another organisation in Indonesia, of which I'm the founder, which is called Yayasan Project Karma Indonesia.

I don't plan to take up time with an initial speech. A lot of what I can say in five minutes would be covered in my submission, and I'd like to give the committee as much time as possible to ask any questions. Unless there is anything specific in my submission, I'd like to reserve this time for people to ask questions.

CHAIR: Great. I will take the liberty, as chair, of going first. We hear a lot from law enforcement and often from academia in this committee but not so much from NGOs, so I find this really interesting. Can you give us an idea of what the NGOs achieve in the child protection space and how you work with law enforcement? Are you additional resources for them or are you able to achieve some things that law enforcement can't and in a quicker time frame?

Mr Hulley : To answer that in a brief way: I would say a bit of both. I can't speak for all NGOs, only my own. I have coordinated with, consulted with and in some cases worked for different international non-government organisations in this space, particularly in child sexual exploitation. I have seen that there is a definite need for the types of services that can be provided. I see them as filling gaps that I've identified, some of them in this submission. I think NGOs play an important role connecting community and social issues to government and law enforcement. I think that's an important component when we look at this in a holistic approach, as this problem is a global problem.

There are many international non-government organisations that have established themselves with reputation and credibility that are already working with many different law enforcement and government agencies. This is an example where NGOs are able to give submissions to government inquiries, and I see that as a good thing. It's definitely developed more and more over the last seven years I've been involved in this space; these types of things were not happening seven years ago in Australia. We're seeing other things emulating what we're doing in Australia, which is fantastic, but there's still a lot of work to, do as I'm sure you're aware.

I see that NGOs can play a different role. In our submission we mentioned Project Karma's Sentinel Model and the pillars of focus we look at. NGOs can assist in all ranges when it comes to addressing this problem globally and working with government and law enforcement, the first pillar being education and awareness and being able to run programs at grassroots level with schools and communities. That is what we're running as a pilot in Bali at the moment, to show this can be done in any country if countries are willing to work together. We are running these programs in different age groups in Balinese schools. That was part of a two-year study. A working party consulted with communities and school authorities to come up with a program that is authorised by local culture, religion and all those types of things. These are local programs that NGOs can run and they can assist by bringing in the local government resources, not necessarily national. That's where I think NGOs work very well.

CHAIR: We obviously have a lot of NGOs who are very mature in the awareness and education space, but yours has a bit more of a hands-on role, for want of a better word, in terms of tracking offenders. I was interested, in your commentary in your submission, that you often find yourself using the public reporting criteria to the ACCCE, for example. I know having NGOs who play a more investigative role is something that other jurisdictions like the US have a lot more history with. Could you give me some commentary on whether our law enforcement agencies need to catch up with that and be a lot more constructive in NGOs actually wanting to have an investigative function?

Mr Hulley : Domestically, when NGOs work closely with law enforcement agencies at state and federal levels, there's a lot of hesitancy on their part in relation to there being a lot of red tape here in Australia. Some of those barriers don't exist in other countries, which is where we operate as well. So it's a very difficult process for us. We can have relationships with another international government agency or law enforcement agency where there's a free flow of information and a level of trust. We supply that information and we're able to confirm certain things to assist and to provide more information because we're on the ground. But that comes from established relationships, and, in some cases, memoranda of understanding have to be signed with law enforcement in those countries and things like that, whereas, as far as I'm aware—and I've been told this point blank by the Federal Police at the embassy in Bali—Australian law enforcement agencies won't sign an MOU of any sort with any NGO. Therefore, their hands are tied, too. As you're probably aware, Australian Federal Police don't really have any powers internationally. They're in another country and they're bound by that country's sovereign law. Essentially, they're there just to assist and be a facilitator between law enforcement and information when required and to be a presence. When it comes to a physical, real-life example, there might be times when we've wanted to confirm certain things in order to provide accurate information to both Indonesian law enforcement and the Australian Federal Police, but, unfortunately, their hands are tied, in that there's a lot of bureaucracy about privacy and how they can share information, particularly with a non-government organisation, and we've highlighted that a lot in our submission.

CHAIR: Yes. You gave us a good case study, I thought—the Walbran one. You've highlighted the issue, but what I'm trying to get to is whether this is a matter of practice and forging those relationships with the AFP. For example, does the committee need to give them recommendations about operating procedure? Or is there legislation that you can point to that is, in part or whatever, restrictive?

Mr Hulley : I was shown a policy—I believe it was a Australian Federal Police policy; I can't quote where that came few, but what I was shown was some internal Australian Federal Police policy—that dictates that there are no MOUs, memoranda of understanding, as such, to be signed with non-government organisations. There's no mechanism for them to be able to do that, whereas for other countries that's quite different. Yes, there is quite a process of scrutiny and time involved in developing that relationship, but those opportunities exist. That doesn't really exist, as far as I'm aware, especially when we're talking about international-type activities. If we want to work with Australian state police or the Federal Police, it's quite a laborious task and it's very hard to have a free flow of information. As we've highlighted in the submission, I also understand the other side of that. So we've tried to present some options that may be open to the government to look at that could improve that situation.

CHAIR: Which jurisdictions are doing collaboration well? Which ones would you like to see us emulate?

Mr Hulley : I think the US are working really well with international partners. I don't want to take away from what Australia is doing with international partners. I commend what the Australian government and also the Australian Federal Police have done over the last five years, which I've seen personally. There have been massive improvements of development of relationships, resources and training between international law enforcement agencies and the Australian Federal Police. The formation of the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation is an extension of that. That has built the platform to now really extend out the feelers, so to speak. We're seeing this as NGOs. We're seeing this in the industry, if you want to call it that, where it's having a massive effect.

The US has emulated something similar with the Philippines, under their PICACC model, which you may or may not be aware of. That involves using an NGO, which is the International Justice Mission. They have a long-established relationship with Philippine law enforcement, and the Australian Federal Police have a long-established relationship with Philippine law enforcement. So the three of them have come together and, over the last few years, have formed this PICACC model, which is basically a centralised system of managing intelligence and cases and following through, coordinating between these two international agencies. That's another great model that's emerged in the last few years. This is what we're saying: there's been some great work in this space, and it needs to continue. There's still room for further work, which we've highlighted in the submission.

CHAIR: You've also worked closely with a lot of tech providers, like Facebook. Have you found their engagement in this space to be genuine? How forthcoming are they with their own information about what's going on on their platforms?

Mr Hulley : It's a big animal—Meta, as they're now called—encompassing a number of major platforms and taking up a huge space in the global social media market. What I can say is that it is early days in this space. We had grave concerns about Facebook and how they were managing these types of matters—not just child sexual exploitation material on their platforms but grooming through their messaging systems and like-minded groups—paedophilic or child sex offender groups—being formed and sharing child exploitation material between each other on these platforms that Meta own, which facilitate that, without really having many mechanisms in place. My organisation and many others made a lot of noise about this five, six or seven years ago, and Facebook had to respond. Other governments around the world started pointing fingers too.

I can understand that, for a company the size of Facebook, there's no profit in this type of thing; it's only expense. As you know, companies like this are solely focused on profits for shareholders. Engaging in investment in safety type systems for their platforms is really just an onerous task they have to do, or it has been in the past. But I think that, when you had the head of Meta—or the head of Facebook at the time—hauled before a Senate hearing for questioning, that's when the road started to change for these companies. Facebook, I would say, led the way on it and really began to invest a lot of money into their safety and trust divisions, hiring ex-law enforcement, developing regional headquarters around the world and putting in software—AI, which is still in its infancy and still being developed, but also algorithms and other mechanisms—to protect their licences and not have this type of material on their service. We highlight a lot of that in the submission. I'm not sure how much detail—

CHAIR: We're obviously able to judge the trends and some of those policies that they're taking up. My interest is in how you're engaging with them. Are you going through public reporting methods with them? Do they give you a case officer? AFP and the eSafety Commissioner report quite a good relationship with some of these tech companies that are very responsive, but, when you get down to individual jurisdictions like VicPol, they're saying that their things can take six to 24 months. How responsive are they to the NGO sector in your experience?

Mr Hulley : In the past, I would have said disgraceful, to put it simply. I think you'd probably get that across the board, whether it be law enforcement, government agencies or NGOs dealing with them. But that has changed, and it's part of this Trusted Partner safety program that they've introduced. We're happy to provide some confidential information separately from our submission, if the committee is interested in how that works. We're not held to a nondisclosure, but, as part of that agreement, we've been asked quite regularly not to make it public knowledge. We did receive a grant recently from Facebook after two years of being part of this partnership. They've given grants to a number of NGOs to recognise the work they've been doing in this space for them. Essentially they've been getting free services from these NGOs for quite some time under this arrangement.

To answer your question, essentially what happens is that, under this agreement, Meta has set up a special portal to which NGOs that have gone through a selection process and then an onboarding process are given access. Basically we can report any posts, pictures, videos and private messages, across any of Meta's platforms. That includes WhatsApp. Even though that may be an encrypted platform, there are still ways to identify a person; you may not be able to get the messages from the offending end, but screenshots from the victim's end are quite often sufficient and we can get still IP information. I'm not technically into that level, but that's the information we're given from Meta.

Essentially, when there are things we've come across ourselves—and they have teams of NGOs like us, where we might have a few people as volunteers that have gone through this process of selection, are trawling for this type of material and are reporting it regularly—that's an assistance to their AI, algorithms and the back-end things they have in place already. We also act as a port of call where members of the public and users of these platforms will come and contact us and provide information, and that will lead us to offending posts, messages and things like that which we then have to report.

Firstly, we have the law to consider, as to whether there's been a crime committed, and, secondly, there are the Facebook community standards, which are basically what this partnership works under. They have their community standards, which you are probably aware of, and that's an ongoing project that they run; they have a whole division dedicated to that side of things, but essentially that portal allows us to report that material. It's handled in a much more timely manner, by a real person, and a determination is made on what needs to be done. It's usually their safety and trust division that makes that assessment, and it's then forwarded, if needed, to their law enforcement response teams, which are part of their system, if you're aware of Facebook's safety system and how it works—

CHAIR: Okay. Sorry, I've got to hand over to my deputy chair in a minute. Is that portal approach something that Facebook has adopted as best practice, or are the other big tech companies emulating that?

Mr Hulley : At the moment, it's a trial that Facebook has been running for two years, and we've been part of it. I think there are about 15 NGOs included in that group. We have been pushing for other safety and trust divisions in these platforms to pursue the same mechanisms, essentially, and I haven't seen it happen yet. We've had talks with Discord, TikTok and Roblox, but, as far as I'm aware, no, that's not occurring at this stage.

CHAIR: Great. Deputy Chair, go.

Dr ALY: Thank you very much for your evidence today. You raised my interest there when you mentioned Discord, because I've done a bit of work on Discord as a real grooming platform for terrorism. Are you seeing Discord being used more for grooming? What other aspects is it being used for?

Mr Hulley : Yes, we've definitely seen examples of that happening, and I know other NGOs have as well. It is a concern. It's a very popular platform for kids. I'm not detracting from your statement. I do agree. I've heard of examples of that with terrorism and other extremist-type activities. It's a platform that can create an echo chamber for whatever movement or ideology is going around, and it's quite a popular platform, as you're aware.

With children, the danger that we see, a huge red flag that really doesn't get spoken about a lot, is this: whilst Discord is a completely separate company to Roblox, which is a gaming company—you may be aware of Roblox and what they do—I haven't seen a child yet that plays Roblox and doesn't use Discord in order to communicate with their friends while they're playing. The two companies' products go hand in hand. Through discussions with both of these companies in the last 12 months—I've had good correspondence with them, particularly during the pandemic—they are acknowledging this. They are starting to talk. They are showing evidence that they are talking more, but I'm yet to see, physically, any changes occurring. You would think the word would be coming out to NGOs that they're consulting with different NGOs. I would hear of that. I'm not.

That's just an example, but I really don't think much is happening there. I think there needs to be more pressure globally upon both of those companies to act responsibly together, because, up until now, they've been treating this as separate. I don't think that's the right approach.

Dr ALY: I agree with you there. I also think there hasn't been a lot of focus on the gaming platforms and gaming chat rooms in this space. That brings me to my next question. Over the course of this morning, we've touched on the different aspects of offending. We have grooming. We have the development of groups or organisations, if you like—transnational and international. We have the viewing of material. We have the production of material. We have the acquisition of material—through live streaming, for example. We have the sharing of material. There are a lot of aspects to this. Do you consider our laws and programs to be comprehensive enough to cover all of the different aspects of offending when it comes to online child abuse material?

Mr Hulley : In short, no.

Dr ALY: What's missing?

Mr Hulley : As more of an extension upon that: I can't offer a silver-bullet solution. I think it's a very, very complex problem. We're not even touching upon anything that's occurring on the darknet and how people are accessing different things there. We're just talking about public apps and platforms that are used by the majority of people. However, there are a lot of these crimes being committed through the darknet. We haven't really even touched upon that in our submission. I hope there are others that you've heard from in relation to darknet activity and these crimes. When it comes to legislation and trying to come up with solutions for all of that—I guess that's why I'm not a politician, right?

Dr ALY: It's not easy for us either.

Mr Hulley : I do empathise with the government's position on this because clearly more needs to be done. But that is the question: what needs to be done, and where do we do it? I can't say I've got all the answers. I hope that, from listening to people like me and others much smarter than me, our government can come up with some better ways to protect our kids, because there are some real problems and it's getting worse.

Dr ALY: On that: we have separate legislation for terrorism that looks at a range of terrorism offences and a range of behaviours associated with terrorism offences—whether it's viewing material online, sharing abhorrent, violent material, planning an attack, participating in or being part of an organisation, travelling overseas for the purpose of becoming a foreign mujahedin—but, when it comes to child exploitation material, if you look at the abhorrent violent material legislation that we've just reviewed, the majority of the reports coming through that legislation relate to child abuse material under the categories of torture and rape. Do you think that we need to be looking at standalone legislation that deals—

Mr Hulley : Certainly—

Dr ALY: specifically with these kinds of behaviours—the grooming, group development and the viewing—in the same way that we have standalone terrorism legislation?

Mr Hulley : Yes, I do. To answer that briefly, yes, I do. I think it needs to be national and it needs to be then adopted at state level. We have tried to highlight that in our submission, about the disjointedness. But, as to what I think you are referring to, in relation to terrorism—and I do understand where you're going with that—I believe, yes, there needs to be legislation specific to this, instead of separate acts here and there at both federal and state level that are all varying. Honestly, that gives powers to law enforcement. It gives powers to government agencies—and international—to act, and you've seen that. Obviously the reason you're highlighting the terrorism example is that that has worked—that legislation has given powers to the people that need them in order to protect Australians. I think that's a very good way of looking at this, and I think child sexual exploitation should be treated in the same vein. This is an international borderless crime, where we're dealing with international syndicates, in some cases, right down to the guy living next door. There needs to be robust federal legislation that is recognised down at state level and enforced at state level, similar to terrorism legislation, to give those powers to law enforcement to act to protect children—not only Australian children but children in these vulnerable countries that our citizens are committing these crimes against.

Dr ALY: You make the point quite strongly in your submission that most of the victims are not citizens of Australia, but you also make the point about this inconsistency with legislation at the state and federal level in different jurisdictions. We heard earlier that, internationally, there are challenges, because some countries—like Germany, for example—don't consider viewing material as an offence and there are different definitions of 'a child', for example. Can you give us an insight into how that impacts your work? Obviously, as a not-for-profit community organisation, you are able to bridge those differences, but, as to those differences in legislation, domestically, within Australia, in different state jurisdictions, and then internationally, with things as simple as the definition of 'a child'—do they affect the work that you're doing?

Mr Hulley : Correct. It's very difficult. When you bring religion and culture into that, with child marriage and all sorts of branches that it can go into, it's very, very difficult. And there are a lot of grey areas, internationally. You would think there shouldn't be, because we've had the rights of the child, through the UN, for the last 60 years, and 160 countries have signed up to that, so you would think it would be standardised. But it's not. What can I say to that? Maybe some countries need to make that an issue, to make that a point of global concern. Why isn't that being followed? It's very clear in the charter on the rights of the child as to what each country should be doing and the age of the child; all those types of things are very clear. So why is there such ambiguity, as you say? All I can say to that is: in my organisation, with the limited funding and resources we have, we don't have the time, the resources or the funding to address those issues. We have to work within that space. And, as you say, yes, that makes it very, very difficult, even here in Australia. We see the Australian government come out and say: 'Right. We recognise this is a huge issue and we think that having a national, public, accessible child sex offender register is the way to go, and we are committing $7.8 million to it,' and we want to see it happen, but then, as soon as we want to do it, we've now got to deal with every single state and territory government in Australia, which all have their own state level laws in relation to this and none of them are in alignment with the federal policy. So where's that going to go? What's going to happen with that $7.8 million? What's ever going to happen with that register? We've got disjointed registers around this country. Speak with the people that work on them. I have. They'll tell you first up that the state registers are not talking to the national one. It's still a problem, and I was hearing about it seven years ago. It's getting better, but the ANCOR system, in the way it's being run, is atrocious. The Peter Walbran example I've given you highlights that.

At the state level, law enforcement agencies are trying to do the best they can. They've formed JACETs, so you've got your state-level police forces that are tasked to work directly with the Federal Police, and that's all been linked in through the ACCCE. These are all great moves, like I said at the start, that we've seen in the last five years. They didn't exist five years ago, so this is all great. But the law enforcement agencies need the legislation to back it up. I don't know how you're going to get a public register, or how the Australian government is going to get one, in Australia if you can't direct the states to toe the line. That is why we say in our submission that there needs to be a national statement made in relation to child exploitation that's signed on by every single state and territory government as a policy. Then they can work within their parliaments to develop legislation that is unified. That's my suggestion. I know that's no easy task, so please don't think I'm just throwing that one out there. I understand it's a very difficult process, but that's what needs to happen.

Dr ALY: I'm starting to think, perhaps, if we treated this as a kind of standalone legislative framework that's needed that might make the task more manageable. On the work that you do—which I recognise is incredibly important work; thank you for that—if you had the right resources and level of funding available to you, is there a role for not-for-profits and NGOs around the world to come together and look at this issue of international definitions and international accordance with the rights of the child for signatory nations?

Mr Hulley : Yes. I understand what you're saying, and, yes, that's needed. I think we highlight in our submission the competition that exists between NGOs in trying to obtain funding to provide services. It's counterproductive in the sense of operating in silos, where intelligence is critical. I can see from the list of people this committee is going to hear from that you'll be hearing from law enforcement, and I think one of the highlights that you'll hear from law enforcement is about the management of intelligence. If everyone's operating in silos and not sharing intelligence then we're going to have gaps. We want to close those gaps.

It's all very well to point the finger at law enforcement to say they've been operating in silos and not sharing with NGOs or other agencies, but the same can be said of NGOs. I've had these discussions at a high level with organisations like IJM, International Justice Mission. We want to set up a database where selected NGOs, which have gone through a criteria process and which law enforcement and government are willing to work with, can be in this database, and law enforcement can feed into it with whatever level of privacy is agreed upon as being necessary. Then, other NGOs can feed into that database so that there is sharing of intelligence. But there are only a few NGOs that are legitimately offering these services around the world, so the onus is upon the government or law enforcement to do their homework on that and include the ones that are needed and worthy—

Dr ALY: And verified.

Mr Hulley : and in the right position to provide those services. That would be my suggestion. It shouldn't just be a blanket invitation, because, unfortunately, not all NGOs are geared towards this or have the capacity, to be honest. As you highlighted earlier, it's quite a minefield: if you're operating in another country, you're in another legal jurisdiction for a start. You're not the authorities; you're an NGO. There's a minefield to walk through with all that.

Dr ALY: On the question of funding: is there a particular pool of money that you apply for funding from that's specifically for the kind of work that you do?

Mr Hulley : No. We have volunteers that go through different government grant offers that come out regularly. Some relate to this area but are more to do with online. We've helped with things during the pandemic, which we haven't spoken about—I know we were talking about social media before—but all those safety teams I spoke about before were working from home through the pandemic. They had a 70 per cent reduction in their efficiency to process reports during that time. It was a horrific time with what was going on and the reports that were coming in. I don't want to get off the topic of what we were just talking about but I want to go back to that quickly because that was a big deal. It highlights the fragility of that system: thousands of reports were taking months to be processed by those social media companies—I needed to go back to that. Sorry, what was your question before?

Dr ALY : My question was the sources of funding for the kinds of work that you do and whether there is a specific fund for this kind of work that you can access—obviously not.

Mr Hulley : No, there's not. Like I said, we have applied for three government grants at federal level and we have never received one. One was through the Australian consulate in Bali. They have a local program there and we have an organisation. We applied to be funded for one of our projects in Bali and a vegetable garden program got it over us, so I don't know. There are grants out there—

Dr ALY: [inaudible] NGO as well, I feel all your pain.

Mr CONAGHAN: Glen, thanks very much for your evidence today. I just want to move away from the online issue. I know you've done a great deal of work on the ground, thank you. I'm just looking at the report you provided. You have a model involving the three pillars of action—community awareness and education, investigation, and rescue and rehabilitation. They're, if not all, predominantly over in Third World countries or developing countries, correct?

Mr Hulley : That is correct.

Mr CONAGHAN: I've been on delegations to developing countries to scrutinise their law enforcement in terms of drugs coming into those countries and then coming into our country. It would be fair to say the poorer the country, the more corruption that you see. Does that transpose into child abuse material as well, whether there is corruption in turning a blind eye to it or in actually facilitating it with lower level law enforcement on the ground in developing countries?

Mr Hulley : It is a great question. Unfortunately, we see corruption in these countries and we have real-life examples where corruption has affected the outcome of cases. It is a very difficult space to work in. Like I said earlier to Anne, sometimes we just have to work within the goal posts; we just can't move them. I've had an example where an Australian offender paid money to the victim's family during the court process in order for the victim to withdraw their complaint and the process finishes. Then we had an example a few years back in the Philippines, where a judge was paid a certain amount of money. It was found out later on that the judge was paid money and he ended up going to jail, as far as I'm aware. Particularly at lower levels, at police level, we have had examples where we may have worked with local police for six months on a case where we provided maybe some surveillance services and other types of intelligence gathering and then we may have assisted that law enforcement agency to follow through their investigation only to find when the law enforcement agency go to do their raid that morning that nobody's there. Usually you find out that somewhere lower down the ranks, someone has received that information from the police and has sold that information to the target, so that happens. But I will say that that also happens in Australia. I have been in law enforcement in Victoria Police for 13 years and I've seen my fair share of corruption in Australia, both at law enforcement and government levels. Obviously, I don't make light of that. The depth of corruption in some of these other countries is obviously very different but corruption is always a problem. It does assist and facilitate these crimes, particularly where we are talking organised crime. When we are talking about syndicates that are involved in trafficking of children and that type of thing then, yes, usually there is some involvement where they have payments or something going on at certain levels to facilitate those crimes. There is ample evidence of that.

Mr CONAGHAN: Thank you for that answer. What about the acceptance in the community of those programs that you are trying to put through for the education and rehabilitation and protection of the children? How is that generally received in those poorer communities?

Mr Hulley : Yes, quite well, believe it or not. I've consulted, as you would have seen in my submission, for a few different organisations prior to forming my own earn. I have worked in a few different countries and have seen the approaches that some of these foreign NGOs were having. I felt there was too much Western thinking going on. I found by interacting with these different cultures that they have their own mechanisms and systems of managing society. If we take the time to learn what they are we can bring our message and use those existing systems and they are going to be far more effective. I have had this discussion with the AFP in Bali. What I found is very few NGOs and very few government agencies do this, where you go and consult with the local people, understand what the mechanisms are and how you can bring your message into that mechanism instead of coming over the top of it and trying to just bring in your message. That is where we have really differed in our existence. We spent a lot of time at ground level interacting, talking to remote villagers in South East Asia, understanding their culture and how they work. To answer your question, in that process we held many community awareness meetings where village leaders, respected elders, would invite the community to come. In those cases, we would have over 100 participants at a time. We ran over 80 of these meetings. We would give a short, 40-minute presentation and then we would then hand it over to the floor and that would go for usually over an hour. Some of it was quite emotional. There were people in those communities that have been willing and wanting to talk about this problem for decades. Some very, very emotional stories came out. But what was very clear was that those communities do not condone these crimes. It is just like it has been in Australia for so long, swept under the carpet. This is why we have had what you've seen—the royal commission into child sex abuse in institutions. Look at what's coming out—generations of child sexual abuse in Australia that has been ignored. I don't need to harp on about it; I'm sure you are aware of it. That's still coming out. That's here in Australia and we are a developed country. None of us stand for it yet nothing was getting done for decades and that is exactly the same in these communities. Nobody stands for it but most of them don't know where to go. Add into it a lot of these cultures have that 'not wanting to cause a scene' in their village, not wanting to lose face, not wanting to be shamed. These types of things restrict the reporting of it. We believe, for every report you see at village level, there'd be at least 10 to 20 more cases that aren't reported. Australian statistics show that only 20 or 25 per cent of these crimes are ever reported in Australia.

CHAIR: Bringing it back onshore, have you had any exposure to, or looked at the remote Indigenous communities for exploitation of children there?

Mr Hulley : Only briefly. I did come up to Darwin and spend some time up there back in February 2019. I met with a number of government agencies up there. I am happy to provide that information to you outside of this, if you require.

CHAIR: That would be great, thank you.

Mr Hulley : There was some initial interest expressed in our sentinel model program where some of the aspects of our pillars would be appropriate. That is the idea of our sentinel model; it is designed to be tailored to individual communities and work within their communities at grassroots level. We presented our model to them. Services Australia and a couple of others were quite interested but it never went anywhere—I will be quite honest with you—and we haven't followed it through.

Part of our problem, too, is that we are minimally resourced. We have very little funds, very little resourcing compared to some of the other large organisations that you see in Australia. We have a 20th of the budget of a Bravehearts or a Daniel Morcombe Foundation but we are not trying to be those organisations. They provide some fantastic services in Australia that we could not provide. We do not have the capacity to provide those sorts of things. We try to provide the services we can in the gaps and have the best effect we can with the very little resources or funding that we have.

Mr CONAGHAN: Thanks very much. I appreciate it.

CHAIR: That brings us to the end of our time. I really appreciate you being so forthcoming with the committee. Thank you again for what PK is achieving and for your dedication to the work.

Mr CONAGHAN: Chair, do we need to allocate a date for that additional information that Glen said he would provide?

CHAIR: I'm sure Glen will provide it as soon as possible but when we wrap things up we will do a formal motion at the end of the two days of hearings and provide you with a formal date.

Mr Hulley : Just to confirm, you want information in relation to who we spoke with, who we met with in Darwin in 2019?

Mr CONAGHAN: Yes, looking at remote Indigenous communities.

Mr Hulley : I would just like to say thank you very much to the panel. Thank you for accepting our submission and for inviting me to come and give more detail on it today. Thank you also for your time and for your insightful questions. I hope I have been able to give some more information that is helpful. Thank you for including us in your inquiry.

Proceedings suspended from 14:00 to 15:06