Public porn threat

A SUNSHINE Coast survivor of child molestation has called for an overhaul of pornography laws after she was inadvertently exposed to a lewd image at a restaurant.

The increasing popularity of laptops, tablets and smartphones means explicit material can be accessed with ease anywhere at anytime in public.

Despite blatant displays of lewd images making most people uncomfortable, a prominent Coast lawyer says authorities are powerless to act when porn goes public.

Julie Thorncraft issued the plea for a tougher stance on unsolicited exposure to porn after an incident involving photographs in clear view on a tablet at the next table while dining with her husband and neighbours.

Mrs Thorncraft was molested as a child and said the incident had triggered an anxious response.

She reported the incident to police, but was told officers were unable to act.

Schultz Toomey O'Brien Lawyers senior associate Tim McClymont said viewing lewd images in public did not necessarily fit the definition of obscene publication under the Queensland criminal code and would be difficult to prosecute.

He said unless the images involved child exploitation, the law would be powerless to act.

The code states it is illegal to "expose to view in a public place" any "obscene picture, photograph, drawing, or model, or any other object tending to corrupt morals".

Mr McClymont said in cases such as this, it would be unclear whether the other person had knowingly exposed the patron to the material and whether the material was obscene.

He said it was also unclear whether the legislation covered computerised images.

"I think that the law probably can't deal with this sort of thing," Mr McClymont said.

"It's unclear if they (the other patrons) knowingly exposed them (Mrs Thorncraft and her guests) to the image, also whether or not the image is obscene. Who's to judge that sort of thing? You? Me?"

Mr McClymont said to legislate against such behaviour would be a slippery slope.

He said to do so could have unforeseen repercussions for businesses or institutions such as art galleries, which exhibited paintings of naked subjects, or newsagents which sold certain magazines.

But Mrs Thorncraft believed business owners, such as restaurateurs, had a duty of care.

"When you pay for a service, you have a right to dignity and respect and (the businessperson) has a duty to provide a safe and comfortable environment," she said.

Bravehearts national operations manager and psychologist Leza Sullivan said survivors of child molestation or abuse were often traumatised or distressed by lewd images.

She said the public should be mindful of others when viewing such material and the effect it could have.

Bravehearts offers counselling for victims of sexual abuse on 1800 272 831.



'Ipswich's sweet side': Strawberry lovers get behind farmers

premium_icon 'Ipswich's sweet side': Strawberry lovers get behind farmers

Fruit sales and prices recover ahead of "Strawberry Sunday"

Mum is no longer the word on teen pregnancy

premium_icon Mum is no longer the word on teen pregnancy

Classes open for Ipswich teen mums

Third year in a row for Ipswich artist to win top award

premium_icon Third year in a row for Ipswich artist to win top award

The awards are Flying Arts Alliance's annual visual arts prize

Local Partners