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Jon Rouse, QLD Australian of the year 2019

Child exploitation investigator
Queensland, 2019 Australian of the Year

Detective Inspector Jon Rouse has dedicated his career to protecting and rescuing children from sexual abuse. He was instrumental in the development of the Australian National Victim Image Library, which helps police identify victims of sex offenders, and is a key member of the international community fighting online child exploitation.

Glass scorpion and patch

Jon’s work is in turns challenging, harrowing and incredibly rewarding. He leads Task Force Argos, which is responsible for investigating online child exploitation and abuse. The group is recognised internationally for bringing down numerous paedophile networks and rescuing hundreds of children from abuse.

Jon thought the unit needed a symbol that spoke to their work, and settled on the scorpion. In prison, child abusers are known as ‘rock spiders’ — the lowest of the low. In nature, scorpions hunt spiders, which is reflected in the taskforce’s motto, ‘Leave no stone unturned’.

A small black glass scorpion with reared tail beside  circular path showing a scorpion and the words 'Task Force Argos Internet Child Exploitation/Leave no stone unturned'.
Glass scorpion and patch, on loan from Jon Rouse, child exploitation investigator, Queensland, 2019 Australian of the Year

A positive impact

The patch is something that we share with other law enforcement agencies — cops like to trade memorabilia, it shows you are part of a wider community. The black scorpion, which is very simple, was given to me by a victim who was aware of who we are and what we do. It is a reminder of the positive impact we can have.

Determination and focus

I have the honour and privilege of working with what I believe to be the best and most dedicated law enforcement team in the world … Our team and units like ours across the world are singularly focused on stopping the sexual abuse of children, and we will continue to work together to infiltrate, disrupt and dismantle child sex offender networks.

Improving lives

The earlier in a child’s life that we can intervene and stop sexual abuse, the greater the chance that child has to be happy, healthy, have a normal life and be a productive member of society. Every single day, we stop the sexual abuse of children and infants nationally and internationally. That makes me want to get out of bed in the morning.

This exhibition was developed by the National Museum of Australia in collaboration with the National Australia Day Council. Portrait images courtesy National Australia Day Council.

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