Teen sexting now legal in Aussie one state
TEEN sexting has now been decriminalised between consenting participants in New South Wales.
The new exceptions came into effect today after Royal Commission findings recommended changes.
The previous laws left teens who exchanged sexually explicit content open to prosecution for the possession and distribution of child pornography and similar offences.
SEXTING IS NORMAL
The government said the changes "reflect current understanding about normal sexual development and experimentation among teenagers."
It means individuals under the age of 18 who are exchanging sexts with other teens of a "similar age" will not be open to criminal prosecution.
This is in line with the original recommendations by the report tabled following the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Other protections have also been implemented for teenagers under the age of 18 who engage in sexual activity including "sexual touching" and intercourse, so long as they are of a similar age.
This is referred to by the state as the "similar age defence."
RAFT OF NEW LAWS INTRODUCED TO PROTECT CHILDREN
The NSW government has introduced a number of new laws to take effect from today on guidance from the findings of the Royal Commission.
One of the newly legislated reforms is a new offence of "grooming a parent or carer" for the purpose of gaining access to a child.
Those who fail to report child abuse to authorities will also be liable for criminal prosecution under the state's new reforms.
Failing to report known instances of child abuse will carry a maximum sentence of two years behind bars, or five years if a benefit or inducement was given for not reporting the abuse.
It will also be prosecutable if "a person in an organisation (fails) to protect a child from abuse." This offence carries a jail term of up to two years.
Also introduced were laws and terminology related to the "sexual touching" of minors.
Former legislation referred to certain incidents of child abuse under umbrella terms of "indecent assault" and "acts of indecency".
"The offences will be simplified and transformed into sexual touching (involving physical contact) and sexual act (where there is no physical contact)," the government revealed.
The new laws will see perpetrators of sexual touching against children under ten face a maximum penalty of 16 years behind bars.
The same offence for a child between the age of 10 and 16 will carry a maximum penalty of 10 years.
"The NSW Government is committed to addressing these shortcomings and has reformed laws to better protect children," the state government said.