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The maximum penalty for making, sending or having child abuse material is 15 years in gaol!
New South Wales child pornography laws only apply to images of young people under the age of 16, but the Commonwealth laws are broader.
These laws even apply to images of young people who look like they are under the age of 18.
Anyone who sends, receives or even asks for a naked or sexual image of a person who is or appears to be under the age of 18 is at risk of committing a crime and of being charged.
The law says that while you are under 18, you aren’t allowed to consent (say yes) to sexting – even though you are able to legally start having sex at 16 years of age.
The reason the laws on sexting are so confusing is that they were made to protect children from adult offenders, and didn’t consider that teenagers might record their own sexual activity.
As a result, even if the young person in the image says it’s okay to be filmed or photographed, it’s still a crime.
In this fact sheet, we’re talking about how sexting can get young people into trouble with the law.
If you’re concerned about a nude or ‘sexy’ picture of yourself that might be on someone’s phone, computer or online, or if you’re worried that you have a picture like that on your phone, computer or online, you can send a Lawmail to get free confidential legal advice from or call the Youth Hotline on 1800 10 18 10.
Sexting can be a crime, depending on the age of the people sexting and whether the pictures would be considered ‘offensive’ or ‘indecent’ by a court.
It is a crime if you make, send out, or have an ‘offensive’ picture of someone under the age of 18 (including yourself) who is: The law calls these images ‘child abuse material’, or more commonly, child pornography.
Child abuse material can include films, photos, digital images and videos sent by SMS, email, in chat rooms or published on blogs.