Sexting is the sending of provocative or sexual photos, messages or videos. They are usually sent by mobile phone but they can also be posted online. It’s important to know that sexting can have serious social and legal consequences for people under the age of 18.
While sharing suggestive images or text messages may seem like innocent flirting, it can also easily be used to harass and hurt people. This is called image-based abuse.
Image-based abuse is when someone takes or shares a nude or sexual image of someone else without their consent or permission. This includes threatening to share images with other people–such as friends, family or workmates–or on social media. Both of these are illegal in Queensland.
Image-based abuse includes:
- taking a nude or sexual image of someone without their permission
- sharing or posting a nude or sexual image of someone online without their permission
- photoshopping someone’s photo on to a sexually explicit image
- secretly filming someone having consensual sex or being sexually assaulted
- taking photos down a woman’s shirt or up her skirt without her permission
- threatening to share nude or sexual images of someone (even if those images don’t actually exist).
You can find out more on the eSafety Commissioner website which provides information for anyone in Australia who has experienced image-based abuse by providing reporting options, support and resources for victims, their family and friends, and bystanders.
How to report it
Where to get support
If you’re experiencing depression or anxiety caused by sexting or image-based abuse, please contact the below services that can listen to you and provide you with options for support. You might also want to tell your parents or a trusted friend or relative what’s going on so they can support you.