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Distribution Of Intimate Images Of Young Person

Section 72D of the Crimes Act 1900 (ACT) makes it an offence to share intimate images of a young person. The penalties are much more severe than if the image was of an adult; and multiple charges may apply.

What is the Distribution of Intimate Images of Young Person?

Section 72D of the Crimes Act 1900 states that a person commits an offence if they share an intimate image of another person and that other person is under the age of 16. This is separate to the offence of non-consensual sharing an intimate image of any person (over or under the age of 16) as outlined in Section 72C of the Crimes Act 1900. Section 72D makes it an offence to share intimate images of a young person regardless of whether the young person consented to this (subject to certain defences).

What Actions Might Constitute an Offence of Distributing Intimate Images of a Young Person

  • Sending a naked picture of your 14 year old ex-girlfriend to your friends;
  • Sharing an intimate video of your 15 year old boyfriend on a web page;
  • Printing out an intimate image you have of your 14 year old ex-boyfriend and sharing the copies on your school noticeboard;
  • Showing your friends naked pictures of your 13 year old girlfriend that you saved on your mobile phone.

What the Police must Prove

For the police to be successful in prosecuting a person, they need to prove that a person:

  • shared an image; and
  • they did so intentionally; and
  • it was an intimate image (still or moving); and
  • that the person was aged less than 16 years.

Possible Defences for Distributing Intimate Images of a Young Person

The following defences can be argued in relation to a charge under Section 72D:

  • that the accused honestly and reasonably believed that the person was at least 16;
  • The young person was at least 10 years old at the time of the offence and no more than two years younger than the defendant and the young person agreed for their images to be shared (Similar age defence);
  • that the accused did not share the images;
  • that the images were shared accidentally;
  • that the accused acted under duress.

Which Court Will Hear Your Matter?

Matters related to the distribution of intimate images will either be heard in the ACT Magistrates Court or the Supreme Court.

If the matter is heard in the Magistrates Court the maximum penalty that can be imposed is $5,000 and/or two years imprisonment. If the matter is heard in the ACT Supreme Court the maximum penalty can be imposed.

Related Offences

The Criminal Code Act 1995 (Cwth) Sections 471.16 to 471.17 and 474.22 states it is an offence to use a postal service or carriage service (mobile phone, internet etc.) to access, share, solicit or promote material involving a person under the age of 16. The maximum penalty for this offence is 15 years imprisonment. If a person is found guilty, they will also go on the Sex Offenders Register, which is a database of all sex offenders in Australia. Being listed on the Sex Offenders Register can significantly impair a person’s future employment as well as


The maximum penalty for distribution of intimate images of young person is 500 penalty units and/or 5 years imprisonment however the court can impose any of the following penalties:

If you require legal advice about distribution of intimate images of young person or any other legal matter, please contact Armstrong Legal.

Andrew Fraser - Managing Associate - Canberra

This article was written by Andrew Fraser - Managing Associate - Canberra

Andrew works in the areas of criminal law and traffic law, providing practical advice in all of his clients’ matters. Andrew has, over many years, developed positive working relationships with prosecutors, magistrates and judges. His no-nonsense approach means he has a reputation for putting forward the best case possible for clients. Andrew has won many matters for his clients, including...

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