AUSTRALIA: To Sext or Not to Sext?

Anti-sexting laws in Australia might end up wrongly accusing teenagers who send each other nude pictures of themselves via text message as sex offenders. According to the new submission by the National Children’s and Youth Law Centre of Australia to the Victorian parliamentary, laws originally created to protect children from pornography could now end up condemning them.

The existing law states that any person asking for a nude or semi-nude image of someone 15-years-old or younger “can be liable to prosecution, with a maximum jail term of 10 years if convicted.” These crimes range from “procurement of a minor for child pornography” to “incitement of an indecent act with a child under 16” and “invitation to a minor to be involved in a live sexual performance.”

Paul Weldon, a co-author of the ACER submission, said that altering this law was important because there “are incredibly serious consequences,” without considering the context of the situation. Young couples are now threatened with incredibly harsh consequences despite the fact they are in a consenting relationship. This law must be made more clear and concise to avoid further confusion and unjust punishment.

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