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In our digital age, it’s easy for pictures and information to be quickly spread using technology like smartphones.
Sexting or taking, sending and sharing pictures via digital technologies could expose you to risk and can be considered a criminal offence, especially if it involves harassing people of any age.
In Australia there are laws protecting your privacy in certain situations including:
Find out what you can do to protect your privacy.
Sexting or sharing photos online can be considered cyber bullying—which is a criminal offence if it involves using the internet or mobile phone to make threats, stalk someone or menace, harass or seriously offend them. If you think you are being cyber bullied get legal help or talk to someone who can help.
Sexting usually refers to:
Sexting can include images from film, movies, videos, photos, and digital images sent by SMS, email, chat rooms and publishing on blogs.
It’s illegal to create, send, possess or intend to possess images of someone aged (or who appears to be aged) under18 (including yourself) who is:
You can be charged with a criminal offence for ‘possessing child exploitation materials’ if you’re aged 10 or over.
If you make or possess (have) illegal sexting images or send them to other people you may be charged with distributing child exploitation material, which is a serious crime. If you’re found guilty of this offence you could be sentenced to up to 7 years in jail if you are 16 or under, or 14 years in jail if you’re 17 or older.
You won’t get into trouble if you were sent sexual images without asking for them and you deleted the images as soon as you could.
If you know the sender, let them know you do not want them to send you any more images. You may also want to talk to a trusted adult or the police about what happened. Get legal advice.
If the person continues to send you images report it to the police. Don’t forward these images onto other people as you may be charged with distributing child exploitation material.
It’s important to respect other people’s choices and their right to privacy and dignity.
For more information about sexting and the use of digital technology see:
If someone has shared a photo of you without your consent there are a number of things you can do:
In Queensland, there are laws which make it illegal to take or distribute photos or videos of someone’s private parts or private activities without their consent —regardless of how old they are.
It’s a criminal offence to take or distribute photos or videos of someone without their consent when the person is:
Private acts may include things like undressing, using the toilet, showering or bathing or having sex in a place where a person would reasonably expect privacy.
It’s also a criminal offence to take or distribute photos or videos of someone’s genital or anal region without their consent in circumstances where they would reasonably expect privacy. This applies even if their genitals or anal region are covered by underwear.
For example, it’s illegal to use a mobile phone in a public place to take photos of women’s underwear under their skirts without their consent.
The penalty for this type of offence is up 2 years imprisonment.
Our privacy page has more information about: