Sexting has been decriminalised between partners of 'similar age' in Australian state to protect consenting teens from criminal convictions
The new regulations reportedly provide a 'get out' clause for children under the age of 18 for taking, sharing or keeping nude pictures of others or of themselves
Sexting between teenagers is now legal in certain parts of Australia. The legal decision to decriminalize sexting was taken by lawmakers in an effort to stop "experimental" youths falling foul of the law, according to reports. The new regulations reportedly provide a "get out" clause for children under the age of 18 for taking, sharing or keeping nude pictures of others or of themselves. The regulations were introduced in New South Wales, and mostly concern cases where the sexting is considered consensual, according to the Sun. According to a recent report, sexting is becoming an increasingly common practice among teenagers in Australia, with over a quarter of the teenage population engaging in the activity.
Only 5% of teens have sent a nude or nearly nude image or video of themselves to someone else. Current research findings from the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.Young people and sexting—attitudes and behaviours . Learn more: https://t.co/j155gun21r pic.twitter.com/iou08EpdE8— eSafety Office (@eSafetyOffice) November 29, 2018
The changes in the regulations, according to lawmakers, were made to "reflect current understanding about normal sexual development and experimentation among teenagers.” The alteration in the regulation means that people under the age of 18 who are exchanging such texts with other teenagers of "similar age" do not stand to face criminal prosecution. The changes made in the regulation are aligned with the original recommendations by the report following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse.
The Australian government said that the changes made in the law will assist in reducing the risk of making certain behaviors teenagers engage in during "normal sexual development and experimentation" criminalized.
Sexting between children under-18 'made LEGAL' in Australia https://t.co/rRYWOE2Z65— The Sun (@TheSun) December 1, 2018
Reports state that the law also mentions a "similar age" defense for consensual sex between children where both are at least fourteen, and where the gap between them is less than two years.
The changes were reportedly made across the state in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Among the several newly legislated reforms, one of them includes a new offense of "grooming a parent or carer" for the purpose of gaining access to their child. The reform also states that whoever fails to alert authorities of any kind of child abuse will also be subjected to punishment of at least a maximum prison sentence of two years.