In Austria, sexting by mutual consent is not illegal

  • Awareness
  • 19/01/2016
  • Barbara Buchegger, Austrian Safer Internet Centre

In this article, Barbara Buchegger, of Saferinternet.at, updates us on a change in law in Austria:

"On 1 January 2016, a new law concerning sexting was implemented in Austria. Under the law of child protection, it's prohibited to pass on nude/pornographic pictures of minors. Formerly this also meant that the exchange of nude pictures within an existing relationship was forbidden which, in consequence, lead to the criminalisation of a whole generation of young people, for whom sexting sometimes plays an important role in their sexual lives. 

"The reform of the criminal law of Austria (=Strafgesetz) has brought a significant change in favour of young people. It is now no longer prohibited to exchange nude pictures, as long as both partners agree to it. This reform does not mean that teenagers are allowed to pass these pictures on to others - this still remains forbidden.

"Although this change of law can be seen as a progress, there are still some question unanswered: How can we define ‘consent'? How can it be proven? Is there a risk that consent could be misused anyway, for example, for blackmailing?

"It remains to be seen how the courts will deal with new challenges and which new problems will occur. For now, the new law can be seen as a first step towards recognising changes in young peoples' lives today."

 


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