Publications & Reports

Non-consensual sharing of personal sexually explicit imagery among young people in Australia: results from an online survey.

Douglass CH, Wright CJC, Davis AC, Lim MSC
Burnet Institute, 85 Commercial Road, Melbourne, Vic. 3004


Consensual sharing of personal sexually explicit imagery (SEI) is part of young people’s sexual practise; however, harms arise if content is shared without consent. Australians aged 15-29 years were recruited for an online survey. Participants indicated if they had ever sent SEI of themselves to someone else, received SEI directly from the person in the imagery and whether they thought it was illegal to forward SEI without consent. Participants reported whether anyone shared their SEI without permission, if they told people, made official reports or if there were consequences for perpetrator(s). Logistic regression was used to identify associations between victimisation, gender, age group, sexual identity and knowledge of SEI-related law. In total, 1007 participants (65% female, mean age 23 years, 67% heterosexual) were recruited; 63% sent personal SEI to another person, 71% received SEI from the person pictured and 77% correctly identified it is illegal to forward SEI without consent. Thirteen percent (n = 126) indicated another person forwarded personal SEI without consent. In univariate analysis, victimisation was associated with identifying as non-heterosexual (odds ratio = 1.51, confidence interval = 1.03-2.22), but was independent from age group, gender and knowledge. In multivariate analysis, sexual identity, age group, gender and knowledge were not significantly associated with victimisation. Among participants who experienced non-consensual sharing of personal SEI, 63% told friends, 10% told family, 93% made no official report and 94% reported no consequences for perpetrator(s). Initiatives are needed to promote legal rights and enable young people to seek support.

Lin to publisher’s web site


  • Journal: Sexual Health
  • Published: 01/04/2020
  • Volume: 17
  • Issue: 2
  • Pagination: 182-186