Today the NSW Government took action to make sharing intimate images without consent a serious crime, which will hold controlling and vengeful offenders to account and help end victim blaming. People who share intimate images of victims without their consent will soon face prison time for their destructive breaches of privacy.
The Government has introduced into Parliament the Crimes Amendment (Intimate Images) Bill 2017 that will make it an offence to intentionally record or distribute, or to threaten to record or distribute, an ‘intimate image’ of a person without their consent. The offences will carry a maximum sentence of three years in jail and an $11,000 fine.
Intimate images include photos and videos of a person’s private parts or of a person engaging in a private act, such as undressing, showering, bathing, using the toilet or sexual behaviour not ordinarily performed in public. They also include images which have been altered to appear to show a person’s private parts, or a person engaged in a private act.
Courts will be given a ‘take down’ power to compel offenders to take reasonable steps to destroy the images colloquially known as ‘revenge porn’ to prevent further distress to victims.
Attorney General Mark Speakman said the reforms target the predatory and manipulative behaviour of those who use revenge porn to threaten, control or humiliate victims.
“It’s not the victim’s fault when an explicit image is shared without consent, and yet too often victims face a devastating emotional and social toll when these private moments go viral online.
“Offenders will now suffer consequences and the power balance will shift back towards victims, which is what the community would expect,” Mr Speakman said.
The Director of Public Prosecutions will be required to approve prosecutions against children under 16 to ensure the new offences do not inappropriately criminalise naive activity between young people.
The new laws will not target children who take and distribute intimate images of themselves, or consenting adults involved in sexting.