New laws come down hard on image abuse

NEW laws to address the issue known as “revenge porn”, were unanimously supported and passed in the Legislative Assembly today (August 16) by the ACT government, Opposition and Greens. 

Jeremy Hanson

Canberra Liberals Shadow Attorney-General Jeremy Hanson says issues of intimate image abuse are a growing problem in the Canberra community, but until today, they were a problem without a solution.

“A recent study by RMIT showed one in five Australians could suffer this form of attack, and as many as one in three young people. Men and women are equally likely to be victims, but groups such as gay, lesbian and transgender, indigenous people and the disabled are more likely to be victimised,” he says.

Earlier this Mr Hanson introduced an exposure draft of new legislation and after wide consultation tabled a Bill in the Assembly.

“We worked with all parties to prepare the final draft, which I am pleased to say received unanimous support,” he says.

“This now means that someone who posts an intimate image without consent, or who is reckless to consent, can face a fine of up to $45,000 or up to three years’ jail. They can also be ordered to take all steps within their power to remove any images they have posted. 

“There are also protections for young people similar to other provisions in the criminal code, so if young people consensually share there is no offence. We are not trying to capture young people in their private act, but we are definitely trying to stop the harmful, abusive and public misuse of these images.

“This is a balanced, sound law that should result in protection from the abuse, mistreatment and harm caused to many in our community.”

Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay says the “Crimes (Intimate Image Abuse) Amendment Bill 2017” creates new specific offences, which recognise technological advances, under the “Crimes Act 1900”.

Mr Ramsay says people who distribute intimate images of a young person under 16 years could be jailed for five years, fined as much as $75,000 or both.

A court may also order a person to remove, retract, recover, delete or destroy the intimate image. A person failing to comply with a court order could be jailed for up to two years, fined as much as $30,000, or both.

“The new intimate images offences cover scenarios that have largely emerged due to advances in technology,” he says.

“The new law also includes a separate offence with an increased penalty for sharing intimate images of children and young people under 16 years to third parties.

“The change does not apply to consensual sexting between children and young people. That is covered by other existing offences.”

 

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