Chapter 1 - Consent Subchapter: Consent laws & rights

Sexting laws and image-based abuse

If something is unsolicited it means no-one asked for it - there has been no consent.

As far as the law is concerned, sending nude photos, videos and sexts are sexual acts. Sending someone an unsolicited pic of your genitals or breasts is a form of sexual harassment.

 

Online sexual harassment

Online sexual harassment includes abusive messages, repeated contact asking for nude images or sex-related activity, unsolicited nude images or "nudes", exploitation, hurtful comments and criticism, and sexual coercion.

More subtle types of pressure, coercion, and “you owe me” bartering communications are also considered harassment.

Strangers and people known to the victim can equally be guilty of online sexual harassment.

Underage, online

The sharing of images or videos of a minor (a person below the age of consent) is illegal and could be considered child pornography, regardless of your age.

If you’ve received an image or video and you’re not sure the person is over 16, delete the image or video without sharing.

 

Image-based abuse

Image-based abuse occurs when intimate, nude or sexual images or videos are taken or shared without the consent of the person shown in the images.

Unless the person depicted in the image or video has freely agreed to it being shared, there is no consent to share the image with anyone in any way.

Sharing intimate images without the consent of those pictured is image-based abuse. It can also include the threat of sharing them. Photoshopped images and artworks are also included in this law.

The laws for image-based abuse are listed in section 72 of the Crimes Act 1900.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of image-based abuse, the eSafety image-based abuse portal contains reporting options, resources and support for victims, their family and friends, as well as bystanders.

 

Sextortion

Sextortion is when a person attempts to use intimate images or videos against you – to humiliate, to get money, more images, or to meet you and coerce you into having sex.

The person might threaten to post the images or videos to family or friends.

If someone is threatening you with non-consensual sharing of images or videos, cut off all contact with the person and tell a parent or trusted adult and/or report it to the eSafety Comissioner or ACSC.