Revenge porn reform

Revenge porn reform

The McGowan Government has today introduced new legislation into State Parliament which criminalises the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, a phenomenon colloquially known as ‘revenge porn’.

Intimate images are commonly distributed via the electronic posting of images on social media platforms, such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter, sharing via a text message or email, or by uploading to dedicated pornography websites.

The Criminal Law Amendment (Intimate Images) Bill 2018 amends the Criminal Code (WA) to create a new offence relating to the non-consensual distribution of intimate images, with perpetrators facing jail time of either 18 months or three years and/or a fine of up to $18,000.

The new law will not make it a criminal offence for consenting parties to exchange intimate images, only to circulating them further without the consent of the person depicted in the image.

It also empowers courts to make a rectification order requiring a person charged with the new offence to remove or destroy the images in question, and ensures that existing threat offences apply to a threat to distribute an intimate image.

In the case of someone under 16, the law says they cannot legally consent to an image of themselves being shared. The law aims to strike a balance between protecting young people from this harmful behaviour, and not unduly criminalising them.

Attorney General John Quigley said, “Australian research by RMIT tells us that image-based abuse is perpetrated for a variety of reasons including control, intimidation, sexual gratification, monetary gain and social status building. It is also used to threaten, harass, objectify, humiliate, shame, and instil fear.

“The damage that image-based abuse can cause is profound. Victims experience damage to their reputation, employment prospects, educational attainment, interpersonal relationships and mental health.”

WA’s Minister for Women’s Interests and the Prevention of Family and Domestic Violence, Simone McGurk, said that sharing intimate images without consent is a despicable violation that needs to be treated seriously by the law.

“It’s typically done to humiliate the victim and rob them of their dignity. It’s abuse, plain and simple,” she said.

“With these laws, the McGowan Labor Government is sending a strong message that this sort of conduct will not be tolerated in WA.”