Sexting - the sending of sexual images via mobile phone or the
internet - is a growing fad among young teenagers according to
recent studies, yet teens seem unaware of the legal dangers they
face as well as the possible personal consequences.
Under Part 10.6 of the Criminal Code Act 1995 it is an offence
to "access, transmit, publish, possess, control, supply, or
obtain child pornography."
Even though the age of consent in NSW is 16, this law covers
anyone who is, or even appears to be, under 18. The laws are
designed to protect children from adult offenders, and don't
take into account teenagers might see it as harmless fun.
These examples show the legal dangers in sexting:
It can be a crime to make, send, or possess an image of someone
under the age of 18 - including yourself - showing private parts or
posing in a sexual way.
It's a crime to photo a person under 18 in the presence of
another person involved in a sexual activity.
A 16 year old boy who takes a picture of his private parts and
sends it to a friend on his mobile phone is committing a crime. So
is the friend who has it on the phone.
A 15 year old girl who sends a video of herself in bra and
underwear doing a sexy dance and sends it out is committing a
A 14 year old boy who posts a video of himself watching a girl
strip at a party is committing a crime, regardless of how old the
A 17 year old couple who send each other images of them having
sex are committing a crime even though they are legally old enough
to have sex.
It's a crime to take a sexual or nude image of anyone
Harassing someone to send you a naked picture of them is a
A 15 year old girl sends her 15 year old boyfriend a picture of
herself in bra and panties to his mobile - both have committed a
Two 17 year olds who swap naked photos could be charged under
child pornography laws. People under 18 cannot agree to
Stacks/The Law Firm criminal lawyer Ruth Whisker says young
people need to be aware of the possible consequences of sexting and
posting such images on the internet,
"What may be fun today can have life-long consequences.
They might be as simple as embarrassment should a future employer
or partner find out about the photos.
"But it can be much more serious including having a
criminal conviction and ending up on the sex offender
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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