By Phillip Gibson | Laws | 4 October 2014
As technology expands at a rapid rate, people have access to an incredible range of sites, materials, publications, news and images. And with that growth, greater attention is being given to definitions of material that can be considered to be criminal. An area that is becoming increasingly complicated both here in Australia and beyond is child abuse material law. This used to be called child pornography law. This area has grown in order to cope with the variety and extent of depictions that can in some cases come under the definition of child abuse material.
In Australia under both State and Commonwealth laws, child abuse material is considered to be the sexualised depiction of persons under 16 (or in some cases 18). Common charges in NSW will be possessing, disseminating or producing child abuse material under s 91(H) of the Crimes Act 1900 (NSW). Further Commonwealth offences can be found in circumstances where a communications carrier has been used for the purposes of delivering child abuse material. Within this field, there are subtle variations in circumstances.
Penalties can vary, from suspended sentences to community service through to gaol time. This will largely depend on severity issues, such as ages, number of images, number of children and violence in the material involved. Our child pornography lawyers are across the many technicalities in this field, and can assist in negotiating the legalities involved. It can sometimes be confusing to know the classification that will be attached to particular material. If you believe that you have unwittingly accessed or misinterpreted some pornography, then these are the important questions to consider.
Unusual cases certainly do arise in the arena of child pornography law. Recently in a NSW matter, a defendant fronted court over his possession of offensive cartoon material (Simpsons characters!). Although not involving human children, the court nevertheless found that such material fell within the bounds of child pornography law. Even images of teenagers fully clothed sexually posing have been found to be child abuse material. Information certainly races around the world at an incredible rate. And as developments in art, narrative and photography blur lines about what is reasonable, it can be hard to keep up with the boundaries of the law.
It is of course the right of adults to enjoy books, art, photography, articles and video material in various formats. It pays to understand however that child pornography laws in Australia are developing a nuanced approach to what comes within the definition of possession and/or dissemination of prohibited material.
Talk to a professional and diligent child pornography lawyer in Sydney to get the latest information on the bounds of the law. Information is power and it is certainly worth knowing all of your rights and obligations in this field.
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