TESSA Youth Project

Legalities and information

The law says that:
If a teenager were to have in their possession an indecent image of another minor (Child under 18), they would technically be in possession of an indecent image of a child, which is an offence under the Protection of Children Act 1978 and the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
Sexting is against the law if you are under 18 or have pictures of someone who is under 18 on your phone iPad, laptop etc. You can end up on the sex offenders register and will have a police record!

Sexting can be done using mobile phones and webcams, to send your boy/girlfriend/ anyone a nude or semi-nude picture of yourself. And this can mean serious trouble which can include your picture being circulated around the school, posted on YouTube and any website. Once your picture is “out there” it can be altered or edited and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. Your pictures may end up in the hands of paedophiles.

Pictures put on the internet from a mobile phone (profile pictures or albums made up) can be copied and edited and can end up in the wrong hands (paedophiles) or on other Webpages. Do not put pictures on the internet that you would not want your mum/dad or grannies to see. Once they are on you have no control over them.
Never post any information or pictures that can leave you open to online predators. Personal information like your home address, what school you attend or private pictures of yourself or others should only be viewable by your real real-life friends. Only have your real-life friends on your friend list.
Many potential employers now routinely “Google” prospective employees – do you really want your new boss to have seen that sort of thing?

Cyberbullying can be defined as the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), particularly mobile phones and the internet, deliberately to upset someone else. It can be an extension of face-to-face bullying, with technology providing the bully with another route to harass their target.
Cyberbullying can take different forms: threats and intimidation; harassment or “cyber stalking” (e.g. repeatedly sending unwanted texts or instant messages); vilification / defamation; exclusion or peer rejection; impersonation; unauthorised publication of private information or images (including what are sometimes misleadingly referred to as ‘happy slapping’ images); and manipulation.

Although cyber bullying is not a specific criminal offence, there are criminal laws cases of cyberbullying and online harassment, namely:

  • Protection from Harassment Act 1997

  • Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994

  • Malicious Communications Act 1988

  • Communications Act 2003

  • Breach of the Peace (Scotland)

  • Defamation Act 2013

Where mobile bullying is concerned, the Telecoms Act 1984 makes it a criminal offence to make anonymous or abusive calls and, if you are harassed persistently on your mobile, it may be an offence under the 1997 Harassment Act.
And the Communications Act 2003 makes it a criminal offence to send: ’...by means of a public electronic communications network, a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character”.
Do not ever join in with any cyber-bullying that may be going around. Cyber-bullying leaves footprints of everyone who has joined in.

Rape and Sexual Assault

The new law on sexual offences includes for the first time a legal definition of rape, and recognises men as well as women can be victims.
Changes to the law means:
That now men as well as women can be raped.
Consent to sexual intercourse must be given “free agreement” This means if a person is incapable through alcohol or drugs, is asleep or unconscious, they cannot be said to have given their free agreement.
Simply this means if you are drunk or have taken drugs are asleep or unconscious you cannot agree to have sexual intercourse. And even if you said yes initially you can say no if you want it to stop.

If you have been raped or sexually assaulted and have decided to involve the Police, it is best to report the incident as soon as possible as it is estimated that vital forensic evidence will be lost after 4 days. If you have not yet made a decision on reporting to the Police, retain your clothing in a paper bag. It is also important that, if you are going to report immediately after the incident, to try not to eat or drink or take drugs or alcohol as this can interfere with forensic evidence.

It is likely that you will be asked to undergo an intimate medical examination. Women can request a female Police Surgeon but should be prepared for the examination being carried out by a male in the event of Police being unable to provide a female Police Surgeon. The medical examination is carried out in order to collect evidence, which may be presented in court, in the event of a trial. It is also possible that you will have to return to the Police station in the following days to have bruising (which does not always show up immediately) etc. photographed.
Whilst at the Police station you will be asked for specific details of what happened before, during and just after the attack. You will be asked if your attacker is known to you, what, if anything, was said and for any other details which you can remember. It is likely that after an attack, a survivor will not be able to remember everything but she can contact their SOLO (Sexual Offences Liaison Officer) with any further details as she remembers. You may be taken back to the scene of the assault to show Police where the attack took place in order for them to search for any evidence left behind. It is difficult to be more specific about what else will happen during the Police process, as the circumstances of each assault are different.


Girls Helpline

0800 121 4685
10am – 12noon

Thursday & Friday
7pm – 9pm

Boys Helpline

0800 032 0399
10am – 12noon

Thursday & Friday
7pm – 9pm

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