Porn: Is It Legal to Watch it in Australia?

September 21, 2022

Are you facing a complaint for sharing or distributing explicit content in Australia? Are you a victim? 

The main problem with the Internet is that adolescents are exposed to sexualised images that are easily regulated by parents or schools. Recent research reveals that 28% of Australians aged 11 to 16 have viewed sexual images online. A total of 24% have seen nudity, 17% have seen genitals, 16% (more teens than young children) have seen sex and 6% have seen violent sexual images. 

Undoubtedly, the Internet is a venue to access powerful information. But, it can be a dangerous neighbourhood for everyone, including teenagers and children. Just by a click on smartphones, teenagers can discover sexually explicit content. Intimate images and sexy content are more accessible, inexpensive and quick than ever before. 

Fortunately, there are restrictions on these types of searches that can be accessed and distributed like sexual abuse of children, terrorism or other acts of extreme violence. Understanding the following facts will help you defend your case if you are facing a crime, or perhaps a victim of revenge porn. 

 

Is It Illegal in Australia to Watch Porn?

In general, viewing pornographic content online whilst under the age of 18 is not illegal. However, minors should not be exposed to pornographic material. This means that a young person who shows a pornographic video to another young person may be breaking the law.

It is illegal to watch porn if the people in the video are or appear to be under the age of 18. Whilst watching violent or abusive porn or porn to the point of obsession is not illegal, but it can lead to problems. Uploading a video of someone engaging in sexual activity online is technically illegal, as these videos are typically labelled X18+ (and some content is completely refused classification due to its offensive and violent nature).

In Australia, the laws of each state differ. They are inconsistent across the country. You will be subject to a different set of laws with varying consequences depending on which state you are in. However, federal law applies in all circumstances; as a result, sexting by minors is illegal, and they cannot consent to it.

Whilst the age of consent in New South Wales pornography laws (NSW) is 16 or older for both sex and sexting, sexting remains a crime if it involves a minor under the age of 18.

How Australian Porn Laws Differ Against Other Countries

Australia is the only country in the Oceania region to strictly enforce restrictions on online pornography and torrenting bans/blocks along with Papua New Guinea. This is grounded in the Australian Broadcasting Service Act of 1992, stating that it is illegal and punishable to watch porn on the Internet. 

However, only a few towns and cities have attempted to impose a complete ban. Australia’s Online Content Bill, which is about to become law, may also make it more difficult for Australians to watch porn online because it will further restrict access to pornographic content online in Australia. 

 

What Types of Porn Are Illegal to Watch?

Generally, it is safe to watch porn in the privacy of your own home. But it is possible to face prosecution for viewing or possessing pornographic material under certain conditions. Therefore, is watching porn illegal in Australia?

There are various types of illegal pornography:

  • The law punishes possession of child pornographic material primarily (i.e. anything that depicts kids under the age of consent naked or participating in sexual acts).
  • Creating or transmitting any form of child porn is also illegal, even if the child depicted in the image or video is the creator. Therefore, if you are still in high school, you should refrain from taking and sharing naked photographs of yourself until you reach the age of 18.
  • Under the Crimes Act 1900, persons who observe, film, distribute intimate images or threaten to record sexual violations without consent is an offence in NSW. If you are charged with any of these violations, you will pay the ​​penalty or fine of $11,000 for each of these offences and serve three years in prison.

What Is ‘X18’?

It is prompted that ‘pornography’ can only be classified as ‘Category 2 (restricted)’ or ‘X18+’ if it depicts actual sexual activity. Category 2 (restricted) publications must be sold in age-restricted areas, with display, packaging and advertising laws varying by state. 

The X18+ films can only be sold and shown in the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory under strict local laws. Still, the way the classification guidelines are written now makes it likely that the classification board will refuse classification for many types of adult media that show non-violent, consensual sex.

 

Mardini Defence Lawyers: Defending You

Some believe that hiring a criminal lawyer when you are charged with an offence related to pornography will be prohibitively expensive. However, the cost of not hiring a criminal defence lawyer is likely higher. Expert criminal lawyers can help you maximise your chances of a good outcome. 

At Mardini Defence Lawyers, calling a criminal lawyer and setting up an appointment is free of charge. When you obtain legal counsel, you’ll receive assistance in understanding the impact of criminal justice and the different options you have.

Mardini Defence Lawyers can provide you with legal services that will bring the best outcome for your situation. Call us at (02) 8677 8292 now.

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If you are facing a criminal charge, we urge you to contact us today to arrange a free initial consultation. No case is too big or too small.

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