20 May 2017
The Turnbull Government is taking strong action to combat the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, commonly referred to as ‘revenge porn’ or ‘image‑based abuse’.
Working in concert with State and Territory Governments, both criminal and civil penalties will be pursued against perpetrators of this growing form of abuse.
The Commonwealth Government today called for submissions on a proposed civil penalties regime which will target both perpetrators and sites which host intimate images and videos which have been shared without consent.
Additionally, a meeting of the COAG Law, Crime and Community Safety Council has released a national statement of principles relating to the criminalisation of non-consensual sharing of intimate images.
“It is important that we have in place strong and consistent regulation at the Commonwealth level to protect Australians from image-based abuse and to hold perpetrators to account,” said Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield.
Minister for Women Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash said the Government is responding to feedback from affected individuals as well as organisations who deal with the aftermath of shared intimate images.
“We have listened to victims and law enforcement agencies, and it is clear that in the first instance what victims want is for these images to be taken down as quickly as possible,” Minister Cash said.
“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.”
“The national statement of principles will give state and territory governments a shared framework to develop and review criminal laws relating to the non-consensual sharing of intimate images,” said Minister for Justice Michael Keenan MP. “The principles reflect protocols agreed with states and territories that recognise that state and territory police should generally handle criminal investigations into cybercrimes against the person.”
Pending the outcomes of consultations, the civil penalties regime will complement an online complaints portal which will allow victims to report instances of image-based abuse and access immediate and tangible support. The portal will be launched by the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner in the second half of 2017.
Under the proposed regime, the eSafety Commissioner could be given new powers to investigate complaints and take action to remove or limit the distribution of intimate images shared without consent.
The discussion paper calls for feedback on potential enforcement measures such as civil penalties, enforceable undertakings, injunctions, and infringement and take-down notices.
Submissions will be received until 30 June 2017. The discussion paper and details on how to make a submission, are available at: www.communications.gov.au/have-your-say/civil-penalty-regime-non-consensual-sharing-intimate-images
Face to face consultations will also occur through workshops. The details of these workshops will be made available during the consultation process.
For a range of resources and advice for those who may have experienced the non-consensual sharing of intimate images, visit www.esafety.gov.au