Sexting among teens could be considered legal in some cases under new laws aimed to reduce the risk of consenting children being convicted of possessing child pornography.
The changes will reduce the risk that children engaging in “normal sexual development and experimentation among teenagers” becoming criminalised, the Government said.
The laws also provide a “similar age” defence for consensual sex between children where both are at least 14 years old, and when the age gap between them is less than two years.
The new laws are among a raft of changes introduced across the state in the wake of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.
Attorney-General Mark Speakman said the reforms were “putting the safety of children front and centre and fixing shortcomings in the law” identified by the royal commission.
Mr Speakman said from today it would be an offence to groom the parent or carer of a child for sexual purposes.
“The changes recognise sexual predators sometimes provide adults with gifts, money and other benefits as a way of cultivating their trust and gaining access to their children,” Mr Speakman said.
The new offence will come with a maximum penalty of six years’ jail.
It will also be an offence for people who know another adult working in an organisation poses a risk of abusing a child, and fail to reduce or remove the risk.
Other changes will make it easier to understand terminology around sexual abuse offences.
The offence of “indecent assault” will now be known as “sexual touching”, while “act of indecency” changes to “sexual act”.
The new offence of sexual touching within a special care relationship will protect children aged 16 and 17 from inappropriate sexual contact with teachers, health professionals and others who take special care of the child.
Previously special care offences only applied where an adult had sexual intercourse with a child under their care.
– Bellinda Kontominas, ABC News