Revenge porn creeps to end up in jail

Saturday

‘Revenge Porn’ or ‘Image Based Abuse’ is a growing problem. Research shows that 1 in 5 Australians have been affected.

NSW will introduce tough anti revenge porn laws. Picture: Channel 4

PEOPLE who post sexually explicit images of ex-lovers online could face up to three years in jail following a crackdown on revenge porn announced on Sunday.

The NSW Government said new legislation to be introduced into parliament this week will make it an offence to intentionally record or distribute an intimate image of a person without their consent.

NSW Attorney-General Mark Speakman said those convicted could also face a fine of up to $11,000.

“This activity is a form of abuse that can cause significant distress to victims,” he said.

“This Bill will empower victims and provide them with the legal right to ensure that perpetrators can no longer get away with such disgraceful behaviour.”

Behaviour between consenting adults would not be criminalised, he added.

NSW will introduce tough anti revenge porn laws. Picture: Channel 4

NSW will introduce tough anti revenge porn laws. Picture: Channel 4Source:Supplied

New research from RMIT and Monash University, released earlier this month, revealed a mass scale of victimisation across Australia, with one in five suffering from image-based abuse.

About 20 per cent of those people have sexual or nude photos of them taken without consent, and 11 per cent have images distributed without consent.

“Image-based abuse has emerged so rapidly as an issue that inevitably our laws and policies are struggling to catch up,” chief investigator and RMIT’s Dr Nicola Henry said.

“This isn’t just about ‘revenge porn’ — images are being used to control, abuse and humiliate people in ways that go well beyond the ‘relationship gone sour’ scenario.”

One revenge porn victim, who wished to remain anonymous, told news.com.au she felt physically ill when explicit images of her began doing the rounds.

“In the weeks after the photos had leaked, I did not eat, I did not talk, and I wished I would be swallowed up by my bedsheets. I did not stop crying, I was ashamed, humiliated, alone and just wanted to die. I had no confidence left, I felt disgusting,” she said.

The new laws will also make it an offence to threaten to record or distribute intimate images, the aim being to protect victims from controlling or coercive behaviour which can occur in abusive relationships.

Intimate images could include photos and videos of a person’s genitalia or of someone engaged in a sexual act in circumstances where a reasonable person would expect to be afforded privacy, Mr Speakman said.

If an offender fails to take reasonable action to remove the images, they could face an additional two-year jail sentence and a $5500 fine.

The laws could leapfrog new federal moves against revenge porn announced on Saturday.

The Government is seeking feedback on proposed penalties against the sharing of private sexually explicit images. A discussion paper said the sharing of non-consensual images is of increasing concern globally.

A new online portal for reporting cases is being created and will be launched in the second half of the year.

In the first instance, victims want the images taken down as quickly as possible, Minister for Women Michaelia Cash says.

“By also penalising perpetrators and the sites which host this content, we are sending a strong message that this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated,” she said in a statement.

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