New and enlightened ‘sexting’ laws will prevent young people from getting criminal – and sex offender registry – records just for innocent selfie photographs. Other states should follow suit. 16 Oct 2014
CLA welcomes Victoria’s ‘sexting’ law
The privacy of Victorians has been enhanced with the passing of new ‘Sexting’ legislation.
In particular, young people will be saved from becoming criminals for doing what now comes naturally to them: emailing “selfie” photos.
The Victorian Parliament passed the Crimes Amendment (Sexual Offences and Other Matters) Bill 2014 this month (15 Oct 2014).
Victoria leads the way in protecting people who send ‘sexts’ from the non-consensual distribution to third parties. ‘Sexting’ is “the creating, sharing, sending or posting of sexually explicit messages or images via the internet, mobile phones or other electronic devices”.
The new law means that if you create an intimate image, and send it to someone, it is against the law to for them to intentionally send it to a third party, without your consent. This legislation also ensures that minors are not inappropriately prosecuted for child pornography offences when they engage in sexting with their peers.
The passing of this law is the culmination of a community consultation process that commenced with the Victorian Parliament Law Reform Committee receiving its terms of reference for its Inquiry into Sexting on 1 September 2011.
The process of community consultation and parliamentary debate has been an excellent example of changing the law to meet the needs of the community.
Civil Liberties Australia has participated in the consultation process throughout. We commend the Victorian Law Reform Committee, the Victorian Parliament, and the Victorian Government for leading Australia in this field of the law.
 Law Reform Committee (2013) Inquiry into Sexting, Victorian Parliament, Parliamentary Paper No. 230 (p ix)