New Criminal Offences

Attorney General Mark Speakman recently announced the commencement of new criminal offences to protect victims from intimate image abuse. Perpetrators now face a maximum sentence of three years jail and an $11,000 fine.

Mr Speakman said the new offences in the Crimes Act 1900 criminalise the recording and distributing of intimate images of a person without consent.

“No one should ever use intimate images to threaten, control or humiliate victims, which is why the NSW Government introduced this legislation to ensure perpetrators are held to account,” Mr Speakman said. Courts can now issue ‘take down’ orders requiring offenders to take reasonable steps to recover, delete or destroy images taken or distributed without consent. Failure to do so could result in an additional two-year jail sentence and a $5,500 fine. It is also an offence to threaten to record or distribute intimate images, providing victims with extra protection against controlling behaviour in abusive relationships. “The new laws shift the power away from vengeful ex-partners and manipulative predators and help victims regain privacy and dignity,” he said. Mr Speakman encouraged victims to report these crimes to police. “It’s not the victim’s fault when a revenge porn image goes viral. Victims might have consented to the image being taken in a private moment, but that doesn’t mean they want it shared with the world,” he said.

Recent research by Melbourne’s RMIT University indicates that one in five Australians have experienced image-based abuse.

Special protections apply for children under 16 years of age to ensure the new offences do not inappropriately criminalise activity by, or between, young people.

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