Sex and the Law


If a person is tricked, threatened, drugged or intoxicated – they cannot consent to sex, regardless of their age. Even if consent was given at the time – it is not valid or legal. Providing someone with alcohol or other drugs with the intent of subduing them into having sex is illegal and punishable by imprisonment. This means any form of alcoholic lubricationIf a person does NOT physically resist sexual advances, this does not mean they have given consent. If a person changes their mind about any sexual activity AT ANY STAGE, then you have to stop and respect their decision. 

Choice is important!

Age of consent in Western Australia 

  • If you’re under 16 years it’s not OK to have sex. The law says you’re too young to consent to sex.
  • If you’re 16 to 17 years old it’s not OK to have sex if the older person is in a position of care or authority over you (such as a sports coach, teacher or foster carer).
  • If you’re 18 years old or older you can consent (agree) to have sex with anyone else over 18.

Selfies – what does the law say?

Sending a selfie is a pretty common way to communicate with your friends, but if the picture you send shows anyone under 18 who is nude, semi-nude, or in a sexy pose, then you are committing a crime. It’s illegal to take, send, receive or store a sexy picture of a young person who is under 18. Under the law, these images are considered child pornography and there are serious consequences if you get caught.

People found guilty of sexual offences or child pornography can get serious penalties and are stopped from working or volunteering with children. Their details can also be permanently recorded on a register of sex offenders.

There is no safe way to send a sexy picture. You can’t control who sees a photo of you once you have sent it by text, email or posted it online.

The best way to stay safe is:

  • Don’t take, send or store a sexy photo or video of anyone under 18
  • If you receive a sexy picture of someone who you know is under 18 or who looks under 18, don’t share it and delete it immediately
  • If you’re worried about a picture that’s already out there, talk to an adult you trust.

In Recent News (13th Feb 2018):

Click here to read the original Article 

"The Senate has recently passed the Enhancing Online Safety (Non-consensual Sharing of Intimate Images) Bill 2017 which establishes a civil penalty regime that would, as outlined in the explanatory memorandum: “prohibit the non-consensual posting of, or threatening to post, an intimate image on a ‘social media service’, ‘relevant electronic service’, e.g. email and SMS/MMS, or a ‘designated internet service’, e.g. websites and peer to peer file services”, among other things. 

It imposes a civil penalty, rather than a criminal liability, of $105,000 for individuals who contravene the prohibition; and a civil penalty of $525,000 for corporations who fail to comply with a ‘removal notice‘ that may require a social media service, relevant electronic service or designated internet service to remove an intimate image from their service. The Bill also empowers the eSafety Commissioner to investigate complaints, issue formal warnings and infringement notices, provide removal notices and written directions to ensure future contraventions do not occur. As a result, a significant amendment to the civil penalty regime was successful in the Senate today, namely to amend the Criminal Code Act 1995 to include specific criminal offences that would criminalise sharing and threatening to share, intimate images without consent.

While this amendment to introduce criminal offences in conjunction with the proposed civil penalty regime may return to the Senate after transmission through the House, this amendment could mean an incredible move toward justice for victims of image-based abuse. Many people – young people and adults – are capable and do engage in the consensual practice of sharing intimate images in a respectful, healthy, safe, loving or intimate way. But image-based abuse is the clear absence of consent and respect. Image-based abuse is perpetrated for various reasons: to humiliate, shame, intimidate, coerce, control, harass and violate victims, it’s also perpetrated for sexual gratification, social notoriety, and financial gain. Our standards and expectations of behaviour shouldn’t be so low that we hold victims partly responsible for the heinous actions of perpetrators.

When it comes to young people, there is a growing problem of young girls feeling pressure to send intimate images of themselves, and this is something that desperately needs to be addressed with respectful education initiatives and programs. We must teach young people about the safe use of technology and associated risks, consent, respect and we must empower young girls to take control of their online usage and agency – but we mustn’t, in any way, send the message that young people who send intimate images of themselves are somehow responsible for the actions of perpetrators who betray their trust or personal privacy. To echo the sentiments in the Senate: this Bill is a significant step in the right direction, and when taken in conjunction with the amendment to introduce Commonwealth criminal offences, today marks a significant move toward long-awaited justice for victims."



For more information about sex and the law visit:

Legal Aid WA – sex and consent

Get the Facts – sex and the law

Legal Aid WA – selfies

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Our Mission

To minimise the impact and further transmission of HIV, other blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections. To reduce social, legal and policy barriers which prevent access to health information and effective support and prevention services.

WA AIDS Council would like to acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of this country throughout Australia, and their strength, resilience and connection to land and community. In particular, the WA AIDS Council would like to acknowledge the Wadjuk people of the Noongar Nation as the traditional custodians of the land in which our office is located.


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