Youth Sexting – The Legal Implications

MKG-newSexting refers to the sending of sexually explicit material by way of a phone or some other electronic means.

Whilst sometimes it may be malicious, often it may be an attempt at humour or where somebody has not thought through the consequences of their actions.  (Which teenagers do not have a mortgage on.)

It is an offence to distribute the images and store the images.  The criminal law implicates both the sender and the receiver of the images and whether there is consent by both parties is immaterial.

For instance a person who is under 16 takes a photograph of themselves and sends it to another person.  Both the person who sent the image and the person who received it, even though it may not have been requested, would be charged.

What’s more the person who receives it would also be placed on the sex offenders’ registry.  It is immaterial if the person who received it was 15 or 16 years old.  Once a person is on the sex offenders’ registry you are required to tell the Police where you live, where you work and in short where you are at all times, including, if you go on holidays.

An example of this might be if a 15 year old girl takes a provocative photograph of herself and forwards that on to her 15 year old boyfriend.  One of the parents seeing the image then alerts the Police.  Both children would be charged and the receiver of the image put on the sex offenders registry.  The sex offenders registry is reserved for pedophiles not sex offenders. Once on the sex offenders registry working in a school or coaching a soccer team on the weekend would be impossible.

In this digital new age where only five years ago texting didn’t exist, the grown ups are trying very hard to make the laws and grapple with new technology, however the consequences are not always as expected.

If you should have any concerns in respect to criminal matters, we can help because Helping You is Our Business.

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