The Law can be confusing to navigate through, and at Paul Vale Criminal Law, we endeavour to help you to attain a greater understanding of the criminal justice system. By providing you with specialised insight and up to date information, we hope to clarify the process.
What is Sexting?
Sexting involves the sharing of sexually explicit or intimate images through the internet, mobile phones and social media.
New Charges arising from section 41DA of the Summary Offences Act 1966
New legislation has been introduced to criminalise the intentional distribution of a sexually explicit or intimate image of any person, where the person in the image has not consented to its distribution. If that person is under 18, it is still an offence even if they agree to the distribution of the image. Possessing or distributing an image of someone under 18 may also result in child pornography charges.
It is now also an offence to threaten to distribute an intimate image.
- If you are found guilty of sexting, you may be sentenced to a maximum of 2 years jail.
- If you are found guilty of threatening to sext, you may be sentenced to a maximum of 1-year jail.
A new defence has been now been introduced under section 70AAA of the Crimes Act 1958 for children who consensually send intimate images to each other. If children are sexting each other in an age-appropriate manner (they must not be more than 2 years apart) the defence is available.
However, this defence does NOT apply to an image that depicts a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment, such as a sexual assault.
In the past, there were very harsh rules against children sharing intimate images. Simply by taking a picture of themselves and sending it to another age-appropriate individual, a child could be charged with and ultimately convicted of producing or disseminating child pornography, and could, therefore, be placed on the Sex Offender Register. The impact of such a conviction on someone’s life is potentially catastrophic.
The new sexting laws ensure that
- If you have or received an intimate image, it is NOT ok to pass that on to other people.
- Children consensually sexting each other will not automatically be guilty of a crime.
Our Principal Solicitor Chen Yang appeared as a panel member on the Channel 31 LawHelp Program in November 2014. This episode focused on the introduction of new Sexting laws in Victoria. Watch it here
If you would like further information, please contact us to get help.
Disclaimer: Please be aware that the above piece is NOT intended to be definitive legal advice. If you have enquires relating to the above subject matter, please contact us for an obligation free, face to face consultation.
If you would like to read about Paul Vale Criminal Law’s past Sex Offences cases:
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