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What is sexting?

Sexting is a term created (a mix of ‘sex’ and ‘texting’) to describe using technology like smart phones or digital cameras to distribute intimate images (nude or indecent images) via the internet. It is also called 'cybersexting' or taking 'selfies' or 'sexy pics'.

Images are ‘distributed’ when they are sent between 2 people, or a group by posting and sharing to online spaces such as facebook, twitter, YouTube, Instagram or snapchat. Sometimes an image is sent to one other person who then spreads it around, often after the relationship breaks up.

Images can be shared deliberately or accidentally. Sharing images around could even happen if a phone is stolen and the phone owner has 'selfie' images stored on their phone.

It is possible that a person will be charged with an offence if they take or send intimate images of someone without their consent.

Using your mobile phone or computer to take or distribute nude or sexual images (photos, videos and more) is a crime if the image includes a person under 18, regardless of whether the person under 18 consents. The law says this is producing or distributing intimate images.

For more information about sexting offences see Sexting offences.

Legislation

Crimes Act 1958 sections 53O to 53ZB

Victoria Legal Aid

See Sexting and child abuse material(opens in a new window)

Youth law Australia

The Youth law Australia site was developed by the National Children's and Youth Law Centre, an independent not for profit organisation that supports children and young people by informing them about their right to justice.

See 'Sexting' under the Victoria tab in Youth law Australia.

Updated