Tuesday, 5 August 2014 2:52pm
An increase in adults filming or distributing indecent material has prompted a warning from the South Australia Police that this often spiteful behaviour can result in serious criminal charges.
While so-called ‘sexting’ has been seen as a concern for adolescents, who potential face child pornography charges as a result, similar behaviour by adults can also have severe legal consequences.
From 2013 a number of charges were introduced to South Australian legislation to cover adults indecently filming, or distributing images of other adults.
In the last financial year there were 105 cases involving this type of behaviour – a marked increase from the 14 cases in 2009, although at that time the laws covering this offending were more restrictive.
Detective Sergeant Barry Blundell, from the SA Police Electronic Crime Section, said in some cases police were alerted after intimate images taken consensually were inappropriately distributed after a relationship break-up.
“It’s nasty and it’s criminal,” he said.
Increases of this behaviour had resulted both from the ease with which people could now record or photograph such material, but also because of the expansion of the internet and social media.
Detective Sergeant Blundell said police believed this type of offending was under-reported with victims often too embarrassed to come forward.
“People need to consider whether they want to have intimate images recorded – particularly if they lose their phone or control over where the image or video is stored,” he said.
“And anyone who has possession of intimate images of someone should be mindful they can face serious criminal charges for distributing such material – some of the criminal offences carry a maximum penalty of a $10,000 fine or two years in prison.”
He urged the public to always use robust passwords on their mobile devices – “if you make it too simple to access, then it’s too simple for the criminal too.”
Anyone who is the victim of this type of offender can report it to police, but they can also report it to the website where the material has been published as being both inappropriate and unlawful.
Anyone reporting to police will be asked to detail where the information was stored before it’s inappropriate distribution, and provide some providence of the material – ie the who, what, where and when in the content.
In one recent South Australian case a woman in her 20s contacted police after becoming aware that her ex-partner had put intimate image on a website accompanied by her phone number and address.