New South Wales Sexting Laws Essay

1057 words - 5 pages

New South Wales sexting laws are so badly written they should be reformed.
Sexting is the act of taking naked or partly naked photos or videos of yourself or another person (posing in a sexual way) and sharing the photos or videos with others using a carriage service, such as the Internet and/or mobile phones. Commonwealth laws state that it is a crime for a person under the age of 18 to participate in the act of sexting.
The contemporary issue of sexting has presented many points of deliberation, in particular that sexting laws wrongly criminalise young people. In addition, there are inconsistencies with the age of sexual consent at state and federal levels, and young people face harsh and uncorresponding punishment to the crime they have committed.
Although there are multiple arguments that support the potential reform of New South Wales sexting laws, there are some points that dispute it. Real child abusers exercising loopholes to avoid prosecution and are both factors contributing to the reluctance to reform state and national sexting laws.

Firstly, sexting laws were created to convict child abusers and to protect children from child abusers, not to convict young people.
When sexting laws were created, lawmakers did not consider that young people would participate in sexting; this was an unknown concept. The laws were passed and are presently able to criminalise young people under a law initially designed to convict child abusers.
The criminal act of young people sexting should not be in the same category as child pornography crimes. Both crimes are somewhat similar: sexting can involve the same amount of physical and mental exploitation of a young person as does child pornography. However, these crimes are sisters not twins. They each have similar qualities but they cannot be considered the same crime and therefore cannot be criminalised under the same law. A teenager sexting is in a completely different context to an older man or woman kidnapping and sexually abusing a child.
The difference in nature of these crimes is a clear indication that sexting laws should be reformed.

Secondly, an inconsistent age of sexual consent at national and state levels is another reason why sexting laws should be reformed.
In New South Wales, the age of sexual consent is 16, as is the age of consent to sexting, However, Commonwealth law overrides this, which states that the age of consent to sexting is 18.
For example, a couple in New South Wales who are both 17 years old consensually sext each other. The images exchanged are not distributed and are kept private between the couple. Yet, by Commonwealth law, the couple can be convicted under child pornography laws.
If the same principle was applied to sexual intercourse, two 17 year olds in NSW who both consent to sex can be convicted of a child sex offence, as the Commonwealth age of consent would override the state age of consent. This naturally is not the case, but why is sexting between young people...

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